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State proposal to crack down on repeat DUI offenders gains second life

A proposal from Republican State Senator Mike Padden to make a fourth DUI in 15 years a felony is back in play. The current law’s look-back period is for four DUI’s inside of 10 years.

RELATED: As one DUI bill fails, another advances 

The bill failed in the Senate earlier in March, when it did not get a floor vote before a key deadline.

At the same time a separate, a wide-ranging bill dealing in a similar topic from Democratic Rep. Roger Goodman did advance.

That bipartisan bill — also sponsored by Republican Rep. Brad Klippert — addresses a variety of issues involving impaired driving. That said, it focuses more on extending the time certain DUI offenders have to use an ignition interlock device and be electronically monitored, than on simply locking more people up.

Goodman admits there is a cost concern to locking more people up, but says that does not mean he’s against more prison time for those repeat offenders deemed the most dangerous. That’s why he supported adding Padden’s proposal to his bill Monday.

“Our DUI laws need to be effective to deter and reduce impaired driving, but also to seek justice and hold accountable those who irresponsibly drink and drive,” Goodman said.

“So we need to put a range of measures in place, including ignition interlock and other technologies, as well as confinement in jail and prison and close supervision after confinement,” Goodman added in a statement to KIRO Radio’s Hanna Scott Monday.

Goodman’s bill also requires DUI sentences with enhancements to be served consecutively, rather than at the same time. It also adds sentencing enhancements for DUI drivers busted with minors in the car, and extends the amount of time an ignition interlock can be required for repeat offenders.

RELATED: Washington state lawmakers consider tightening DUI laws

Additionally, it defines a part of current DUI law, about when a person is considered in control of a vehicle, that deals with whether they can face charges if a vehicle is safely stopped.

It essentially says that a driver needs to be out of the driver’s seat without the keys in the ignition and the vehicle off, or they can be charged with being in physical control of the vehicle while intoxicated, a slightly lesser charge than DUI.

Goodman says when his bill — which already passed the House — was heard in the Senate Law and Justice Committee Monday,

Padden’s provision to extend the so-called look-back period and make a fourth DUI in 15 years a felony was added to Goodman’s bill — which already passed the House — in the Senate Law and Justice Committee on Monday.

Padden has said extending the look-back to 15 years for repeat offenders will help keep dangerous, repeat offenders  — those most likely to commit vehicular homicide — off the streets.

The Senate committee is set to vote on the combined legislation Thursday.

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