Lawmakers in Olympia are considering House Bill 1736, a new legislation that aims to strengthen the state's odometer fraud laws. The bill proposes to make odometer tampering a Class C felony, which carries a punishment of up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Currently, odometer tampering is only a gross misdemeanor in Washington, which carries a maximum punishment of 364 days in jail and a fine of up to $5,000. Supporters of the bill argue that the current penalties are not severe enough to deter fraudulent practices, which can result in unsuspecting buyers paying more for a vehicle than it is worth.
Under the proposed legislation, the state would also establish an odometer fraud investigation unit to investigate and prosecute offenders. The unit would work in collaboration with the Department of Licensing to identify cases of odometer fraud and pursue legal action against offenders.
The bill has received bipartisan support in the state legislature and has been praised by consumer advocacy groups. If passed, Washington would join several other states with similar laws aimed at protecting consumers from odometer fraud.
The public hearing for House Bill 1736 is set for later this week, and supporters are hopeful that the bill will gain momentum and become law in the near future.