OLYMPIA, Washington – New, stricter DUI laws give authorities the power to tow a DUI offender’s vehicle when arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.

The new Washington law, which went into effect at midnight on Friday, requires police officers to tow and impound DUI offenders’ vehicle for 12 hours.

“This is about making sure that impaired drivers don’t return to their cars and drive again before they’ve sobered up,” said State Patrol Chief John Batiste. “This isn’t about trying to punish someone for driving drunk. If they’re found guilty, that will become the court’s job.”

The purpose of the law is to make roads safer, keeping intoxicated drivers from operating their vehicles after they have been arrested.

“Our main concern is to get the impaired drivers off the road and make sure that they don’t re-offend within that 12-hour period,” said WSP Sgt. JJ Gundermann.

With the new law, officers are not even allowed to allow a sober passenger in the vehicle to drive the car away from the DUI arrest scene. However, someone may be able to retrieve the vehicle from the impound lot before the 12-hour holding period in certain cases, such as if the vehicle belongs to someone else.

The DUI suspect will also be responsible for paying the cost of towing.

In 2007, a drunken driver was allowed to get back in her vehicle before she was sober and seriously injured another person. The victim won a $5 million law suit against Whatcom County and the WSP. Since then, authorities knew they had to do something to change the current DUI laws and ensure that intoxicated drivers are not out on the roads.

“They realized that we were in kind of a no-win situation with DUI arrests as to what happens to the vehicles afterwards,” said WSP Trooper Ryan Tanner.

DUI charges, also known as DWI charges, are very serious and can have lifelong consequences for the motorist involved if they are convicted of the crime. A DUI or DWI conviction can affect a person’s employment, finances and even civil rights. If you have incurred a DUI or DWI charge, speak to a top DUI lawyer or DWI attorney right away to fight for your rights.

DUIs and DWIs are punishable with several penalties, which include costly fines, driver’s license suspension, community service and even imprisonment. With a skilled team of DUI attorneys and DWI lawyers on your side, however, you won’t have to worry about any punishments. Your DUI attorney or DWI lawyer will ensure that your charges are either significantly reduced or wiped out altogether. With an acclaimed team of DUI lawyers and DWI attorneys, you can rest assured that your case will end with the best possible outcome.

Hurry, most DUI and DWI charges are only able to be contested for a few days following the incident. Turn to an elite DUI lawyer or DWI attorney in your area today to discuss your options and file a claim.