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Eye On Olympia

Felony DUI…

After years of trying, lawmakers may actually pass a law that makes chronic drunk driving a prison offense.

Always, the rub has been: But what would it cost? Incarcerating a person costs more than $25,000 a year, and lawmakers feared a flood of drunk- and drugged drivers taking up space in the state’s already-crowded prisons.

Now, longtime proponent Rep. John Ahern, R-Spokane, and key Democrats have joined in what is essentially a four-strikes-you’re-out law. After four DUIs in seven years, offenders could face a felony conviction. As things stand now, prosecutors say, it’s a gross misdemeanor with a maximum of a year in jail — no matter how many times you’re caught driving drunk.

Read our full story here.

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Richard Roesler covers Washington state news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Olympia.

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