Revised DUI Law Gets Solid Debut

The “DUI King” could be next.

So far, so good for King County prosecutors and the state's new DUI felony statute. Karl Solid, 45, the first person in the county to be charged under the revised 2007 law providing prison terms for drunk drivers, last week became the first person in the county to be convicted under it. Solid, of Bothell, who has eight prior convictions for drunk-driving-related offenses since 1991, was judged guilty by a King County Superior Court jury and now faces up to eight years hard time, rather than the typical year-or-less misdemeanor jail terms he received in the past. He was among the drunk drivers with multiple offenses featured in a recent SW story (see "DUI Royalty's Also-Rans," April 9). Solid, who said he'd had "three or four beers," came in three times over the DUI limit, scoring a .289 on the breath-alcohol test. State Trooper Brian Dixon—whose cruiser was almost hit by Solid—said that during the September 2007 arrest on State Route 522, he'd had to hold the suspect upright to keep him from falling on the roadway. In court, prosecutors said Solid was bleeding from the head and covered in blood when arrested, having taken a tumble while earlier walking to his car. He was driving without a license and without the ignition interlock device he was required to install after a 2006 DUI conviction. (Besides the eight previous misdemeanor DUIs, Solid also has five felony convictions involving forgery, theft, and writing bad checks). Trooper Dixon said he had to avoid cuffing Solid's arms behind his back because Solid told him it would make him pee his pants. (Dixon held him up by the side of the road so he could urinate.) Arrested around 8:30 p.m., Solid thought the time was 1:30 a.m., and, though in Bothell, told the trooper they were in Kirkland. He also admitted he had a gun in his car—which the trooper couldn't find—then remembered he'd left it at his girlfriend's house. King County prosecutor Dan Satterberg said Solid's case was a prime example of what the legislature had in mind when it decreed the fifth DUI in 10 years to be a class C felony. "This crime carries a stiff prison sentence," Satterberg said, "but it is for the benefit of everyone on the road." His office has filed six other felony DUI cases in the last year, and others are being considered, including one against the state's DUI king, Robert Castle, who has racked up 16 drunk-driving-related convictions.

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