Washington Drunk Driving Accident Attorney Supports Tougher Stance on Repeat Offenders

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Seattle-based personal injury lawyer Dean Brett says bill will help to deter drunk driving – and save lives – by imposing stiffer penalties.

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Seattle personal injury attorney Dean Brett

This bill will make it clear that drunk driving carries serious criminal consequences, and my hope is that it will help to deter people from getting behind the wheel after they’ve been drinking.

Washington drunk driving accident lawyer Dean Brett said today that he endorses a bill that will impose tougher sanctions on those convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol, especially repeat offenders.

House Bill 1789 passed through the legislature this week and now only needs the signature of Governor Chris Gregoire to become law, according to the Tacoma News Tribune.

“This bill will make it clear that drunk driving carries serious criminal consequences, and my hope is that it will help to deter people from getting behind the wheel after they’ve been drinking,” said Brett, whose law firm, Brett & Coats, Attorneys at Law, PLLC, focuses on representing motor vehicle accident victims, including those harmed in drunk-driving crashes.

“In particular, this bill takes a tough stance against repeat offenders, who frankly deserve heavier punishment. If common sense and being previously convicted of DUI doesn’t stop you from drunk driving, then you need a stronger deterrent.”

According to the News Tribune’s summary of the bill, it would:

  •     Impose felony DUI penalties on anyone arrested for DUI who has a prior felony DUI conviction. In Washington, a person is guilty of DUI if they drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher (.02 or higher for those under age 21). A felony DUI charge applies to those with four or more prior DUIs within a 10-year span or an alcohol-related vehicular homicide or vehicular assault conviction.
  •     Require those with sentencing enhancements for DUI vehicular homicide to serve the sentence in full; and
  •     Require those convicted of alcohol-related reckless driving or first-degree negligent driving to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle. An ignition interlock device requires the driver to submit a breath test before starting the car. If the test registers a BAC above a certain level, the car is prevented from starting.

“The ignition interlock requirement is important because it can keep people from becoming repeat DUI offenders,” Brett said.

According to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, 491 people died on Washington’s interstates, highways and streets in 2009 in alcohol-related crashes. Driver impairment, in fact, played a role in 53.8 percent of the state’s total traffic fatalities, the WTSC reports.

“As an attorney who has represented numerous drunk driving accident victims and their families, I can attest to the horrific consequences of this crime,” Brett said. “I commend our legislature for taking action that will protect innocent motorists, bicyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians from harm.

“Our law firm will continue to press for tougher legislation that is aimed at stopping drunk driving, and we will stand up for the rights of those who have been injured or killed by impaired drivers.”

About Brett & Coats

Brett & Coats, Personal Injury Attorneys, PLLC is a Washington personal injury law firm with offices in Seattle, Tacoma, Bellingham and Spokane. The firm represents car accident victims, including those injured in DUI/DWI accidents, and other personal injury victims throughout the state of Washington. For more information, call the firm at (800) 925-1875, use its online form or visit http://www.victimsofdrunkdrivers.com.


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