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Repeat DUI offenders will face stiffer penalties

Sen. Joe Fain testifies on two pieces of legislation to combat DUI offenses, which were approved by the Legislature and sent to the governor for signature on Monday.  - Courtesy photo
Sen. Joe Fain testifies on two pieces of legislation to combat DUI offenses, which were approved by the Legislature and sent to the governor for signature on Monday.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

For the Reporter

Prosecutors will be able to seek increased penalties for DUI offenses after two pieces of legislation received final approval on Monday from the state Legislature.

Sen. Joe Fain (R-Auburn) crafted and sponsored the bills after working as a DUI prosecutor in King County between the 2013 and 2014 legislative sessions.

"My experience building cases and trying offenders showed me that prosecutors need more tools at their disposal to keep dangerous people off the roads," Fain said. "These new policies target repeat offenders and ensure suspects aren't released from custody without appropriate conditions of release like sobriety monitoring or an ignition interlock device."

Fain's proposals, which passed the Senate in February, were overwhelmingly approved by the House of Representatives and are now sent to the governor for final endorsement.

The first measure adds to the types of prior DUI offenses that can be considered during sentencing, providing a more comprehensive look at the offender's criminal past. It also requires repeat offenders to appear before a judge prior to release.

The second successful piece of legislation increases the required time served for those who circumvent ignition interlock devices or operate a vehicle without one. Both allow prosecutors to seek more appropriate sentences given the offender's previous actions and disregard for public safety.

Following the Legislature's progress on DUI-related legislation in 2013, Fain worked as a deputy prosecutor in the King County Prosecutor's office to learn the system and its needs from the inside. Following that experience Fain introduced the proposals ahead of the 2014 session and was able to get both approved by the Senate and House of Representatives during the short 60-day session.

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