Two bills sponsored by Sen. Joe Fain (R-Auburn, 47th Legislative District) during the 2014 legislative session were signed into law today by Gov. Jay Inslee.
The signing coincides with Safe Roads Awareness Week in Seattle, which is a series of events in memory of Dennis and Judy Schulte who were tragically killed by a repeat DUI offender one year ago.
Under the new laws prosecutors will be able to seek increased penalties for repeat DUI offenders. Fain crafted the proposals after working as a DUI prosecutor in King County between the 2013 and 2014 legislative sessions.
"Those who drive under the influence create tragic consequences that are completely preventable. Operating a vehicle while intoxicated must be met with serious consequences and our local prosecutors will now have additional tools to seek more appropriate sentences," Fain said. "These new policies act both as a way to keep proven dangerous drivers off the road and should serve as a deterrent for repeat offenders."
Fain's proposals were overwhelmingly approved by the Senate and House of Representatives during the 2014 legislative session that ended on March 13.
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.
Fain was joined by Frank and Carol Blair of Tacoma, the parents of Sheena Blair who was killed by a drunk driver in 2010. Tom McBride from the Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys who helped refine and worked on the two proposals was also at today's event as Inslee signed both bills into law.