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.
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