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Judge John E. Turner (Ret.)

Washington explores DUI courts for repeat offenders

Washington public safety officials are looking into drunk driving courts for repeat offenders. These courts, which would provide special supervision and treatment for those convicted of DUIs, may have far-reaching consequences for citizens throughout the state.

According to local news reports, A Renton man was recently picked up for his 11th drunk driving charge. The man, who had already been sentenced to 60 months in jail for previous DUI convictions, was pulled over by state troopers who were conducting an on-foot investigation. The officers performed a field sobriety test, and the man was arrested for DUI.

The Renton man's case is not unique, according to officials from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission. Approximately one-third of state drivers who are charged with drunk driving have at least one prior DUI arrest. In fact, the Renton man had an ignition lock device for his own vehicle. However, he was using another car at the time of his arrest. One solution floated by the traffic safety commission is stand-alone DUI courts that give offenders special supervision and addiction treatment. Currently, Thurston, Clark, Spokane and Yakima counties have DUI courts, but officials are considering implementing them throughout the state if funding can be obtained.

A criminal defense attorney who specializes in drunk driving cases may assist those charged in DUI court. DUI is a serious offense in Washington that can lead to heavy fines and even jail time for those charged with a felony. An attorney could sift through evidence such as field sobriety tests and Breathalyzer tests to determine if the charges should be reduced or dropped.

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