July 1st DUI Laws Starting to Show Their Teeth

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New DUI laws have been hitting the books throughout the United States since July 1st, and some states are now witnessing the first implementations of these recently-enacted efforts to curb drunk driving.

As just a few examples, a South Lake Tahoe woman was able to use a new Nevada DUI law to avoid prison and defer sentencing in her DUI case while a Washington man was not so lucky under the terms of a new DUI law in his state.

Specifically, Karl Solid is the first repeat offender to feel the consequences of a new Washington DUI law that makes a fifth conviction for DUI a felony.

Previous to this new Washington DUI law, all DUIs in the state were considered misdemeanors, something that Solid was most likely aware of as he has racked up nine DUIs in his life.

Solid's latest arrest for DUI reveals that he hasn't gotten the point about the dangers of such actions. A King 5 story detailed that Solid was pulled over last weekend after nearly driving off a nearby side road of Highway 522 in Seattle. A trooper then found Solid covered in blood. Apparently, Solid had fallen earlier while walking from his house to his car. He also did not have a driver's license, which had been taken from him for his prior DUI convictions.

A breath test revealed Solid's blood alcohol content (BAC) to be 0.28 percent, which is more than three times the 0.08 percent legal limit under the DUI laws in all 50 states.

Under the new Washington DUI law, Solid will spend anywhere from six to eight years in prison if convicted. Under the old Washington DUI law, Solid would have only spent time in prison if he had killed someone, according to Interim King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg.

Now the consequences for such dangerous actions are much more significant for the 44-year-old Solid, who is sitting in King County Jail on $250,000 bail.

As for the newest Nevada DUI law, Lisa Beth Thomas was able to avoid sentencing in her third DUI case by pleading guilty and agreeing to five years of substance abuse treatment and six months of house arrest.

Prior to this new Nevada DUI law that took place on July 1st, a third drunken driving conviction would lead to at least a year in Nevada State Prison.

The 45-year-old Thomas may now have her sentencing deferred for up to five years if she adheres to all the conditions of her probation, including

  • no drugs or alcohol;
  • six months of house arrest;
  • a 3-5 year treatment program;
  • random search and seizure for drugs and alcohol; and
  • installing an ignition interlock device in any motor vehicle she operates.

Under the new Nevada DUI law, Thomas must pay for all of these programs and requirements; a tradeoff that most people would agree beats prison. In fact, Thomas was quoted in a story in The Record Courier that she was grateful for the opportunity to show that she has and is continuing to turn her life around.


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