Under Washington state law, the penalties for a DUI conviction increase with each subsequent conviction. While a first offense often won't lead to severe penalties, multiple convictions for DUI can lead to significant fines and lengthy prison stays. This fact likely isn't lost on a Pasco, Washington man recently convicted of his ninth DUI.
According to court records, Hector Orozco, Sr., entered into a plea agreement before a Washington judge in May 2018. The judge signed off on a five-year prison sentence that follows the recommendation of a plea agreement between the prosecutor and Orozco's defense attorney. Had Mr. Orozco gone to trial, the Pasco man would have faced a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
According to arrest records, Orozco was arrested on the evening of January 25, 2018. A Pasco police officer noticed Orozco's vehicle traveling on West Shoshone Street at approximately 8:30 p.m. Upon closer inspection, the officer noted that the car had 2018 tags but a vehicle registration that expired in 2016.
The officer pulled over Orozco and noticed upon making contact that there were several open containers in the vehicle. When asked how much he had to drink that night, Orozco responded “plenty.” Orozco wasn't exaggerating; when tested with a breathalyzer he blew a 0.164. This result was more than twice the legal limit.
While Orozco has had numerous DUI arrests, this was his first offense in a decade. His previous arrest was in 2008 when he was pulled over for driving without a seatbelt. On that day, Orozco recorded a 0.139 blood alcohol concentration upon his arrest. The 2008 conviction resulted in a 25-month prison sentence. In fact, he is one of the first people in the state to be charged with a felony DUI after the state legislature increased the repercussions for repeat DUI offenders. According to Orozco, he has severe substance abuse issues that he has not been able to address. In fact, he was court ordered to seek treatment after the 2008 conviction.
Washington State Felony DUI Law
The majority of DUI charges are filed as gross misdemeanors. These charges typically carry less than a year in jail as the maximum penalty. However, in more severe cases, a DUI can be charged as a Class C felony. A felony DUI charge carries a maximum of five years in jail and up to $10,000 in fines. There are two circumstances where you can be charged with a felony DUI:
- You have four or more previous DUI convictions within the last ten years, or
- You have been previously convicted of:
a. Vehicular homicide while under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
b. Vehicular assault while under the influence of drugs or alcohol; or
c. An out-of-state conviction that is the equivalent of vehicular homicide or assault.
You Don't Have to Face a Felony DUI Charge Alone
You have constitutional rights even if you've been previously convicted of a DUI. Attorney Steve Karimi is a former prosecutor who knows how to hold a prosecutor to their burden of proving a case beyond a reasonable doubt. To discuss your situation with a seasoned courtroom veteran contact The Law Offices of Steve Karimi to set up a free consultation.