Legislature passes increase of drunk driving penalties

OLYMPIA — The Legislature has passed a bill that would raise penalties for felony-level driving under the influence convictions.

House Bill 2280 passed the Senate on a unanimous vote Wednesday after clearing the House in February. It now heads to the desk of Gov. Jay Inslee.

Under existing law, a fifth DUI conviction within 10 years is a Class C felony, which carries a maximum of five years in prison, a $10,000 fine or both. The bill would make felony DUIs a Class B felony, which has a maximum of 10 years in prison, a $20,000 fine or both.

A person’s first four DUIs are gross misdemeanors, and a DUI is also a felony for someone who previously committed vehicular homicide or vehicular assault while intoxicated.

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