The Brass Tacks Part II: Increased Penalties for DUI if Child Under 16 In Vehicle

Here’s a summary of more changes that went into effect on September 28, 2013 regarding our ever-increasing and ever-punitive DUI laws. The changes included changes to RCW 46.61.5055 that increase DUI penalties if there was a passenger under 16 in the car. There’s also an increase in mandatory jail for repeat offenders. Here is what is NOW subsection 6 of RCW 46.61.5055: 

 

(6) If a person who is convicted of a violation of RCW 46.61.502 or 46.61.504 committed the offense while a passenger under the age of sixteen was in the vehicle, the court shall:

 

(a) Order the use of an ignition interlock or other device for an additional six months;

 

(b) In any case in which the person has no prior offenses within seven years, and except as provided in RCW 46.61.502(6) or 46.61.504(6), order an additional twenty-four hours of imprisonment and a fine of not less than one thousand dollars and not more than five thousand dollars. One thousand dollars of the fine may not be suspended unless the court finds the offender to be indigent;

 

(c) In any case in which the person has one prior offense within seven years, and except as provided in RCW 46.61.502(6) or 46.61.504(6), order an additional five days of imprisonment and a fine of not less than two thousand dollars and not more than five thousand dollars. One thousand dollars of the fine may not be suspended unless the court finds the offender to be indigent;

 

(d) In any case in which the person has two or three prior offenses within seven years, and except as provided in RCW 46.61.502(6) or 46.61.504(6), order an additional ten days of imprisonment and a fine of not less than three thousand dollars and not more than ten thousand dollars. One thousand dollars of the fine may not be suspended unless the court finds the offender to be indigent.

 

RCW § 46.61.5055 (6).

 

My opinion? The passage of I-502 has simultaneously loosened Washington’s Drug Laws and enhanced Washington’s DUI laws. Period.