Senate passes DUI bill, extends ‘look-back’ in sentencing

OLYMPIA – The state Senate Wednesday passed a bill that would extend the ‘look-back’ in DUI cases, allowing courts to consider convictions over the last 15 years during sentencing. The bill now returns to the House for concurrence on amendments.

House Bill 1504 would allow more repeat offenders to be sentenced to prison terms. Washington makes the 4th DUI conviction a felony, but under current law, courts may consider only convictions within the last 10 years.

Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, was prime mover behind the extended look-back. He sponsored legislation earlier this session that dealt with the look-back issue, but that bill died without a vote on the Senate floor. Instead, the provision was added to HB 1504, a measure that makes other changes to Washington’s DUI law.

“We know repeat offenders pose the greatest danger on our roads and highways,” Padden said. “They are far more likely to be involved in cases of vehicular homicide and vehicular assault. We need to lay down the law for those who continue, time and again, to drive while intoxicated. It doesn’t matter if you are liberal or conservative, Republican or Democrat, or live in Seattle or Pomeroy — this is a problem for all of us. We need to end the scourge of impaired driving and prevent this most unnecessary loss of life.”

Other changes made by the bill include increased penalties and fines for offenses involving minor passengers, and an increase in the monthly fee for drivers required to use ignition interlock devices.