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Would Proposed Federal Ignition Interlock Law Affect Washington Residents?

Posted by William Kirk, Partner | Jul 14, 2014 | 0 Comments

There is a major piece of federal legislation affecting DUIs that will be proposed by New York Representative Nita Lowey, reports Forbes. The legislation is being hailed as a deterrent to drunk driving as it will require that individuals convicted of a DUI to install an ignition interlock device for at least six months. However, as Washington already has stringent ignition interlock requirements, the federal law (if enacted) will likely have little impact on state residents.

The proposed federal legislation would not directly impact drunk drivers. Instead, the law would require that states (if they haven't already done so) adopt such laws. The penalties for states that fail to do so would be reduced access to federal transportation funding.

How Ignition Interlock Devices Work

Ignition interlock devices have proven very effective in stopping drunk driving. Someone convicted of a DUI generally is required to install the device into the dashboard of their vehicle. Before starting the vehicle, the individual will be required to blow into the device to confirm that the individual has not drank alcohol. So long as you have some minimum amount of alcohol in your system (even if below the legal limit), you vehicle will be locked.

After successfully starting your vehicle, the device will prompt the driver to blow into the device periodically to ensure that the driver has remained sober. The device will record a log of your activities and the authorities will know if you attempted to start your vehicle after having a drink. Installing and maintaining an ignition interlock device is very expensive and part of the device's deterrent effect.

Washington Ignition Interlock Laws

Washington already has some of the strictest ignition interlock requirements in the country. As a result, the proposed federal law will likely have little impact. Individuals convicted of a DUI for the first time will be required to install the device for at least six months. Authorities can increase the time requirement depending upon the circumstances of the conviction.

Contact a King County DUI Attorney

If you have any questions about a drunk driving charge in the King County area and its associated penalties, you can talk to an attorney at Cowan Kirk Gaston Wolff by calling 1-866-822-1230.

About the Author

William Kirk, Partner

Bill Kirk has been named a Super Lawyer by Washington Law and Politics Magazine every year since 2003. He currently serves on the Board of Regents to the National College for DUI Defense and is the President of the Washington Foundation for Criminal Justice. Bill is one of only two attorneys in this state to pass the National College's Board Certification Exam.


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