Introduced by Rep. John Lovick (Mill Creek) (D) on January 15, 2003
To establish the conditions for an affirmative defense to the crime of attempting to allude a police officer. The defense must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that a reasonable person would not believe that the signal to stop was given by a police officer, and that driving after the signal to stop was reasonable under the circumstances. The bill also specifies that a violation of this law will result in a revoked license for at least two years. Official Text and Analysis.
Referred to the House Criminal Justice & Corrections Committee on January 15, 2003
Testimony in support offered to the House Criminal Justice & Corrections Committee on February 7, 2003
By Representative Lovick, prime sponsor; Larry Erickson, WA Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs; Glenn Cramer, WSP; and Tom McBride, WA Association of Prosecuting Attorneys. They testified that state courts have reversed convictions based upon the fact that a police car was not properly marked; this bill would prevent this outcome. Courts have interpreted the current law as requiring door decals, which do not have anything to do with providing drivers with notice that a police vehicle is following. Police often use unmarked cars now because they help to slow down traffic and are needed for traffic enforcement. This bill addresses the concern of police impersonation by allowing drivers to continue driving in a non-reckless manner until they find a safe place to stop. Drivers can also drive away if they realize the person is not a police officer. The bill does not change the culpability standard, it just updates the language.
Testimony in opposition offered to the House Criminal Justice & Corrections Committee on February 7, 2003
To state that eliminating the requirements of having a properly marked car and having a police officer in uniform increases the concern over police impersonations. A pulled over driver is vulnerable, and this bill will increase agitation over pulling over. A possible constitutional issue exists over creating a reasonable person standard for the affirmative defense, as opposed to actual knowledge. This bill makes it a crime to elude an imposter police officer.
Substitute offered to the House Criminal Justice & Corrections Committee on February 7, 2003
To reinsert the requirement that a police officer signaling for the driver to stop must be in uniform. The substitute also eliminates the increased length of time that driving privileges are suspended as a result of a conviction, and eliminates the requirement that suspensions be tolled while the offender is incarcerated.
The substitute passed by voice vote in the House on February 7, 2003
Referred to the House Rules Committee on February 11, 2003
Amendment offered by Rep. Lynn Kessler, (D-Hoquiam) (D) on February 26, 2003
To add the requirement that a pursuing police vehicle's license plate be appropriately marked as a police vehicle.
The amendment passed by voice vote in the House on February 26, 2003
Referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee on February 27, 2003
Testimony in support offered to the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 24, 2003
By Representative Lovick, Tom McBride, WAPA; Dave McEachan, Whatcom County Prosecuting Attorney; Glenn Cramer, WSP; Larry Erickson, WASPC; and Rick Jensen, Trooper's Association, who testified that traditionally marked police vehicles are not effective in stopping aggressive drivers because the police vehicles are too identifiable. The affirmative defense will provide greater protection for innocent drivers who suspect that they are being stopped by a person impersonating an officer.
Testimony against: none offered.
Amendment offered to the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 24, 2003
To require that the law enforcement vehicle must have lights and sirens instead of a marked license plate.
The amendment passed by voice vote in the Senate on March 24, 2003
Referred to the Senate Rules Committee on March 24, 2003