House Bill 1041 unanimously passed in the Legislature this spring and was signed by the Governor earlier this month. It will become effective on July 28, 2019, and contains extraordinary changes to the qualifications for vacating a felony or misdemeanor conviction. Some highlights include: 1) streamlining the process for obtaining a certificate of discharge; 2) allowing vacations for certain assault convictions; 3) removing the prohibition on vacating more than one misdemeanor conviction; 4) removing the requirement that wait times be tied to certificates of discharge.
These changes greatly expand eligibility for post-conviction relief in regard to criminal history records. Many individuals who would be statutorily barred from petitions under today’s rules will be able to request discharge under the amendments. This is a progressive, rehabilitative Bill that will help people with employment and housing opportunities currently unavailable to them.
The alcohol monitoring ankle bracelet, commonly known as SCRAM, which is being ordered by courts all over Washington as a method of monitoring DUI defendants, can give positive results for alcohol even if a defendant has not had a single drink.
The device, called a ”Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor,” or SCRAM for short, takes the form of a bulky ankle bracelet and tests a person’s blood alcohol level through perspiration. It wirelessly updates the monitoring company or probation every 30 minutes. Judges all over Seattle, King County, and Washington State have been quick to adopt this technology as a way to ensure that DUI defendants are not consuming alcohol in violation of their court orders.
I am 20 years old and recently got a DUI. My license is suspended for one year. Will I be able to go to the bar when I turn 21?
For some people, it makes sense to enter into a deferred prosecution after getting charged with a DUI in Washington. To qualify for a deferred prosecution, chemical addiction or alcoholism must play a significant part in why you broke the law. After acknowledging this, you must commit to a significant program of chemical dependency treatment. This program, and the court supervision that goes along with it, generally lasts for five years. If you complete your deferred prosecution, the court will dismiss the original DUI charge.
Today, according to an article in the Washington Post, Justice Roberts of the United States Supreme Court “spoke out” about a DUI case. He was joined by Justice Scalia in dissenting from the decision of the other justices of the Court to deny review of a ruling from the Virginia Supreme Court. The Virginia court found a police detention of a suspected DUI driver was unconstitutional where Virginia police stopped a car for DUI based upon an anonymous, uncorroborated tip to a “drunk busters hotline.” The Virginia Supreme Court ruling is in line with established law in Washington state.