Monthly Archives: September 2015

Court updates DUI sentencing grid to take into account one’s ability to pay the fines

I previously wrote about a State v. Blazina, new Washington Supreme court case that held that during sentencing, a judge must decide whether the defendant actually has the present and future ability to pay the court fine before deciding what fines to impose. Now, the Administrative Office of the Courts has updated their DUI sentencing grid to reflect this mandate. This DUI sentencing grid is used throughout Washington State and is intended to make it easy for judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys to be aware of, and accurately enforce all the various DUI sentencing laws.

On page three of the grid, it now reads the “mandatory minimum [fine] may not be suspended unless defendant is indigent.” It also talks about all the other various fees that are added on top of the mandatory minimum penalty, and how these fees should be imposed unless the “defendant does not have ability to pay.” And again, none of this is based on a new law and is instead just the Supreme Court reminding trial court judges of their duty under RCW 10.01.160(3).


New Washington State DUI laws go into effect September 26, 2015

Like every year, the Washington legislature tweaked the DUI laws in Washington State. The new laws go into effect on September 26, 2015. You can read the entire bill detailing the changes here. Nothing dramatic has been changed, but highlights include:

  • Those with valid out of state driver’s licenses are now eligible for Ignition Interlock License (previously only those with a Washington State license were eligible).
  • Consecutive sentence for those convicted of Ignition Interlock Violation.
  • Applying for, and receiving the Ignition Interlock License, no longer waves one’s right to contest the DOL administrative license suspension.
  • The safely off the roadway defense that is available for a charge of Physical Control can now be used in the DOL administrative license suspension hearing.
  • Expands the ways one can be convicted of Circumventing an Ignition Interlock Device.
  • Creates an infraction for open container of marijuana (just like open container of alcohol).
  • Ignition Interlock Devices must now provide GPS data for each reading.