Drunk driving in Washington state

Asked almost 5 years ago - Renton, WA

Would It be possible for Washington state to assign people with more than three DWI convictions in a years time identification that would prohibit them from purchacing alcohol (chaning the color of the Drivers license fom blue to red )? If it is, how do I write a petition to make this a law?

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Linda Medeiros Callahan

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    Answered . I would guess that there are very few people who get three DUIs in a single year. A person convicted of a DUI must drive only vehicles equipped with ignition interlock devices for a year after a first DUI, and for 5 years after a second within 7 years.

    That being said, if you wanted to pursue such legislation you should contact your representative or state senator for your district. This is because a bill must have a sponsor who is a member of the legislature. You could also petition for a ballot initiative but these are costly and difficult to run. You can contact the secretary of state's office in Olympia to get more information.

    I think that one issue you should consider is that, since the end of the prohibition, it is lawful for adults to purchase and consume alcohol. Your idea would change that for certain people. Now, it is lawful to drink and drive, but not to the extent that one's ability is affected, or to the extent one's breath or blood concentration is .08 or higher. Your law would prevent certain DUI offenders from purchasing alcohol, but what would that accomplish? Someone else could buy it for them.

    Certainly, the stigma of a different colored license might be of value--the person would have to show their license when presenting checks, when boarding a plane, etc. Some states have used stigma as a deterrent by requiring multiple offenders to have special license plates.

  2. Jeffrey Alan Lustick

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    Answered . This proposal would have to be enacted at the state level for it to work as you are describing. In Washington State, you have two local State Representatives who serve in the State House of Representatives and one State Senator who serves in the Washington State Senate. Any or all of these local representative would have the capability to write a bill, introduce it and gain sponsors, and get it passed into law. You could also perhaps contact and seek support from other state representatives or senators from outside of your local district. There is no rule or requirement that an idea from one district only be be pursued by the elected officials of that district.

    Most state officials have websites and will receive e-mail. But if you really feel strongly about your proposal, call their offices and do not send e-mails. See if you can get a face-to-face meeting to explain how your idea would work.

    Another thing you may be able to do is use Washington's citizen initiative process to have the proposal enacted into law by a popular vote of the citizens of this state. Citizens initiatives can be very time consuming and expensive. You have to receive a certain number of hand written signatures from registered voters who sign a petition. The petition then gets reviewed and if it qualifies, it f goes on the state wide ballot.

    Another consideration is if your idea would withstand legal challenges. Just because a law is passed or an initiative passes doe snot mean it is legally sound. It may be that the state courts find some problem with the restrictions imposed by your proposal. These are all things to think about when coming up with ideas for new laws.

    I am a criminal defense attorney, so honestly I don't know if I would support your idea. But I am also a citizen of the State of Washington and I think that it's a very good and healthy thing for people such as yourself to advance new ideas and proposals which they believe will make for a better society. So good for you for thinking about these things and for looking into how to better society by utilizing your government.

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