Letter: New drunken boating law needs another look

May 25, 2013 

A recent article, "New law means tougher penalties for drunk boating offenders," stated that "Senate Bill 5437 signed by Gov. Jay Inslee aims to crack down on boaters operating under the influence." Really, governor?

Let us look at some hard facts here. There are currently no open container laws for water craft. However, there are open container laws for vehicles on roads and highways. A boatload of people can drink as long as "someone" within the boat can pass a breathalizer? Really?

Let us look at homicide by watercraft; a class A felony with a seriousness level of IX. With no criminal history, the penalty is 31-41 months in prison, and the defendant can earn up to a third off of that sentence for good behavior. The low end of the range equates to doing about 20 months in prison. Which really means 14 months in a soft forestry camp and 6 months in work release. And that reality is contingent upon some ridiculous plea bargain not being reached by the typical prosecutor/court-appointed lawyer team hungry for convictions.

Our city, county and state governments are once again ignoring the real issues here. The time for change is at hand.


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