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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spin Control

Senate doubles penalties for felony DUI

OLYMPIA -- A driver convicted of a fifth DUI, which is a felony in Washington, could face up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.

The Senate Wednesday doubled the penalty for that fifth conviction in 10 years of driving under the influence of alcohol, marijuana or drugs, raising it to a Class B from a Class C felony. On a 47-0 vote, it sent to Gov. Jay Inslee a bill that also passed unanimously in the House last month.

The Legislature is also considering a bill that would make the fourth DUI a Class C felony, punishable by five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. It passed the Senate last month and could come to a vote in the House in the next week. Under current law, a fourth DUI is a misdemeanor.

Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, a former district judge, said many states make the third DUI conviction a felony, but Washington has made progress in recent years. Until 2007, no DUI that did not involve an injury was charged as a felony.

Jim Camden
Jim Camden joined The Spokesman-Review in 1981 and retired in 2021. He is currently the political and state government correspondent covering Washington state.

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