Court overturns law named after woman hurt by DUI driver

BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- A law named after a Whatcom County woman injured by a drunken driver in 2007 was overturned by the Washington State Supreme Court.

The Bellingham Herald reports Hailey's Law was overturned Thursday.

It was signed into law by then-Gov. Chris Gregoire in 2011, and required law enforcement officers to impound cars belonging to people they arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs for 12 hours. It was meant to make sure people sober up before they can access a vehicle.

An appeal following a DUI stop in 2018 in Quincy brought the law before the state Supreme Court this week.

Court documents say Joel Villela was arrested on suspicion of DUI by Sgt. Paul Snyder.

Documents say per state law Snyder didn't consider whether there was a reasonable alternative to impounding Villela's jeep.

After the Jeep was impounded, Villela was charged with DUI and possession with intent to deliver controlled substances due to what was allegedly found in the vehicle.

Villela's lawyer said the seizure of the Jeep was unconstitutional because the seizure did not meet lawful requirements, and the state Supreme Court unanimously agreed.