Earlier, I posted a blog about State v. Hernandez, a decision by Division Three of the Court of Appeals of Washington that further muddied the waters pertaining to what prior convictions a trial court can consider to calculate the defendant's offender score. Today, I will talk about another interesting aspect of that case, the propriety of forcing someone convicted of a felony DUI to keep an ignition interlock device (IID) installed their vehicle beyond the statutory maximum.
For some context, an IID requires that a driver blow into the device when starting their car and while driving it. The vehicle will disengage if the driver's BAC is .025 or higher, or if the driver fails to blow into it. Here in Washington, anyone convicted of a DUI must have an IID installed if they wish to continue driving. The length of time the IID must be installed depends on the charge. First-time offenders may be required to have one installed for one year. Second convictions require 5 years, and third convictions up to 10.
In the case at bar, Mr. Hernandez received a 10-year IID requirement, to be imposed after his driver's license was restored, presumably after his 5-year prison sentence was complete. On appeal, he argued that the statutory maximum he faced was only 60 months, and that the IID requirement exceeded that maximum.
Mr. Hernandez pled guilty to a felony DUI, a class C felony. It carries a maximum 5-year sentence. The Court of Appeals agreed with Mr. Hernandez, finding that the trial court exceeded its discretion in requiring Mr. Hernandez to keep the IID for longer.
The Court of Appeals' reasoning was simple. The 5-year maximum essentially limits the amount of time that the trial court could have jurisdiction over Mr. Hernandez. Any longer IID requirement would go beyond that jurisdiction. Thus, Mr. Hernandez's requirement could only last 5 years.
It is easy to imagine several circumstances in which this rule may be relevant to someone accused of a DUI. It is equally easy to consider when someone that is representing themselves may get bullied into accepting an IID requirement that exceeds what they should receive. Without understanding the caselaw, it is easy to see someone representing themselves failing to recognize the limitations of the courts power to place them under IID requirements.
This is where an experienced DUI defense attorney can be invaluable. As someone with decades of experience as both a prosecutor and DUI defense attorney, Steve Karimi understands how to protect the rights of his clients. If you have been charged with a DUI in the greater Seattle area, you need to protect your rights. Contact Steve today for a free consultation.