Drunk driving across state lines = Two DUIs
August 20th, 2009
The Washington State Supreme Court issued an opinion on August 20, 2009, regarding a driver who drove drunk from Washington State into Oregon and was convicted of DUI in both states based upon this single act of driving. (State v. Rivera-Santos, 81445-7.) The driver was arrested in Oregon after driving south from Washington state over the interstate bridge. He took a DUI breath test with a reading of .17 and was convicted first in an Oregon court of DUI. Later, he was prosecuted and convicted of DUI in Washington State. The driver appealed, asserting that Double Jeopardy prevented him from being prosecuted for DUI in Washington State when he had already been prosecuted for DUI arising out of the same facts in Oregon. The Washington State Supreme Court rejected the appeal and affirmed the conviction, finding that the Oregon DUI conviction did not bar the subsequent Washington State DUI prosecution. In this case there was one continuous act of DUI driving that occurred in two separate states and that resulted in two DUI convictions. Of interest is that under Washington's DUI sentencing scheme, the Oregon DUI conviction that was on the record at the time the driver was convicted of DUI in Washington State would have caused the Washington State DUI to be deemed a "second offense," subjecting the driver to a mandatory minimum of 45 days in jail based upon a .17 breath test reading. The Washington DUI sentencing statute states in part that a a prior DUI conviction includes an out of state conviction that would be the equivalent of a Washington State DUI.