Every day in the US there are an average of 3,200 drunk driving arrests, yet Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) reports that over 300,000 people drive drunk daily. Per year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that approximately 1.5 million people are arrested for DUI involving alcohol or drugs, meaning one out of every 121 licensed drivers are arrested. In 2015, Washington State held a population of nearly 7 million at 6, 830,038. That same year, the state also had a total of 34,952 arrests for DUI, meaning that on average, 1 out of every 200 Washington residents has been arrested for drunk driving.
How does Washington State Compare?
MADD placed Washington State at #44 out of 51 states in their 2010 National DUI Statistics report. That year, it was 8th place on the Top 10 Offending States. Three out of a possible 5 stars were received for the implementation of measures taken by law enforcement to curb drunk driving.
It is somewhat common knowledge that the State of Washington boasts strict laws against drunk driving, and perhaps it is due to these grim statistics. Observing the national BAC of 0.08, a first-time DUI is considered a misdemeanor crime for which an offender is likely to spend a minimum of 24 hours in jail, and a maximum of one year. Upon arrest, one can face the suspension of one’s license and have an ignition interlock device installed in one’s vehicle if the arrest leads to a conviction. If you have been arrested for DUI in Washington you have 20 days to request a hearing to contest the suspension of your license, which could last between 90 days and 2 years.
Despite these measures, 37% of all Washington traffic fatalities involve an alcohol-impaired driver. During the year of the report, 170 people were killed. The number is high, but it is still indicative of an overall downward trend considering in 2009 there were 207 fatalities, in 2008 there were 182, and in 2007 there were 195.
h2>Biggest Challenges against Drunk Driving
The State of Washington is highly incentivized to reduce drunk driving, considering it costs nearly a billion dollars worth of damage each year. Repeat offenders are the biggest challenge for law enforcement, considering that the majority of fatalities are due to drivers with multiple DUI convictions who drive with a suspended license.
In 2010, 19,783 DUI offenders had had 3 previous DUI convictions when arrested. Because of this there is now a big push to get a third-time DUI elevated from a misdemeanor crime to a felony. If you face such charges, you face severe penalties if you receive a conviction. Don’t let it happen without a strong legal defense by a skilled DUI attorney like Daniel J. Murphy Jr. Call Murphy’s Law Offices at 253-312-6122 for a free case evaluation.