Driving Under the Influence laws continually evolve as governments and law enforcement find new areas that need enhancing or new technology that requires implementation. The Washington State Legislature has passed Bill 1276-S2.SL and it is to take effect within a week of this blog post.  Here are some highlights of the changes as it pertains to DUI Law.

-DOL Hearing:  DOL Hearings will now permit Blood Draw cases obtained by Search Warrant.  Until now a DOL Hearing will only occur if there is a refusal of a blood or breath test or if the blood or breath test indicated a BAC of 0.08 or higher or 5 nanograms of THC (marijuana), or higher.  Under the new law, 46.20.308(7), a DOL hearing will be permitted if blood draw was obtained by Warrant.  However, it also appears that the Implied Consent Warnings still need to be read to the defendant. 

-Physical Control:  The Physical Control Statute is about to change!  Under 46.20.308(7) it states “Where a person is found to be in actual physical control of a motor vehicle…the person may petition the hearing officer to apply the affirmative defense found in RCW 46.61.504(3) and 46.61.503(2). The driver has the burden to prove the affirmative defense by a preponderance of the evidence.” –It would appear that the defense of “safely off the roadway” now applies in DOL Hearings. 

-Ignition Interlock Device:  RCW  46.20.750 has been expanded and adds a definition to circumventing the ignition interlock device.  As always, if you are required to have one, don’t drive without the device.  Circumventing the ignition interlock is a Gross Misdemeanor. 

-Ignition Interlock License:  Under 46.20.385 (and the applicable portions of 46.20.308) an application for an Ignition Interlock License no longer waives your right to a DOL hearing or an appeal.  This is good news as previously you had to choose. Perhaps a minor change with negligible effects, but a change in the right direction nonetheless.

As always, please talk with a qualified and 
experienced criminal defense lawyer in Bellingham regarding the specific details of your case and how the new laws affect you, if at all.

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2015 Washington DUI Law Changes


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