A Snohomish County driver with four prior DUIs on his record, rolled his car earlier this month while driving with a child and another passenger.
The single-vehicle rollover occurred just before 1:30 a.m. on Highway 2. The 33-year-old driver left the road, struck a rock wall and flipped his vehicle. The man's brother, and a 10-year-old girl were passengers. A passing motorist picked them up and took them to the hospital. All had minor injuries.
Although the driver refused to submit to sobriety tests, state highway troopers investigating the crash said the man “smelled of intoxicants and showed signs of inebriation.” Because the driver had four prior DUIs, he was required to have an ignition interlock device on his vehicle. He did not.
An ignition interlock is a breath-analyzing device that is wired to the ignition and installed on the dashboard. The vehicle cannot be started until the driver exhales into the device. If the interlock detects alcohol on the breath, the engine will not start. At random times after the engine has been started, the device will require the driver to provide another breath sample. If it is not provided, or if the breath exceeds a set blood alcohol level, the device will log the event, warn the driver and set off an alarm until the ignition is turned off or a clean breath sample is provided. For safety reasons, the device cannot turn off the car ignition once it has been started.
Offenders pay for the interlock devices, which cost between $70 and $150 to install and about $60 to 80 per month for monitoring and calibration. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, interlock companies provide devices for offenders in most states who can't afford them or an indigent fund is set up by the state to cover costs for these offenders. Washington state has an interlock device financial assistance program.
In Washington, if a driver's license is suspended or revoked, they may be eligible to get an ignition interlock driver license that will permit them to drive a vehicle equipped with an ignition interlock device.
The driver in the rollover crash is facing charges of felony DUI, driving on a suspended license, reckless endangerment and driving without an interlock device. If convicted, it will be his fifth DUI. When a driver is convicted of DUI in Washington, the biggest factor in sentencing is the prior DUI record. That is why it is critical to speak to an experienced DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible after an arrest.
If you are facing charges of driving under the influence in Washington state, call the Seattle law office of Steve Karimi at (206) 621-8777 or contact him online.