Washington Senate passes bill making fourth DUI a felony

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The Senate has unanimously passed a bill that would make driving under the influence a felony if the driver has three or more prior offenses on their criminal record within 10 years.

Senate Bill 5037 passed Thursday and now heads to the House, where it has stalled in previous years.

Under the measure, a fourth DUI offense would become a class C felony, which is punishable by up to five years in jail, and a fine of up to $10,000, or both. Under current law, a person's first four DUIs are gross misdemeanors.

However, this bill allows first-time felony offenders to spend up to six months in jail, instead of nine, and finish out the rest of their sentence under supervision, such as attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and other programs.