New DUI enforcement program to begin in Washington State

If you live in Washington State then you’re affected by the new DUI enforcement program that is being rolled out in several counties. The Washington State Patrol is starting a new DUI enforcement program on New Year’s Day. The pilot program will bring tougher punishments for some intoxicated drivers in five areas of the state. Most King County DUI arrests will not be affected by this pilot program initially, but if it is successful I expect all King County DUI cases to be implemented. To learn more about this pilot program continue reading..

This new DUI enforcement program will begin in Chelan, Spokane and Thurston counties. Additionally some municipalities will also participate in the pilot program. The cities of Kent and Centralia among them. So what is this new program and how will it affect those charged with a DUI.

Essentially if you get arrested for a DUI and you have never been in trouble before then not too much will change for you. Especially under the new DUI enforcement program. However drivers charged with their second DUI in those areas will face a judge who may require daily monitoring of any substance use. This will occur in two ways. First they will either report to jail twice a day to give a breath test or pay more for an ankle monitor called a SCRAM bracelet. If someone fails to follow through with the Court ordered obligation then they will go to jail for the remainder of their case.

As a DUI lawyer practicing in Seattle in my opinion this really isn’t going to be too big of a change. Currently it is common practice, especially in King County DUI cases where if a person has a prior offense a Judge is going to set a SCRAM bracelet as a condition of release. In fact I have seen it happen on a first offense in Seattle Municipal Court DUI cases. So it is not uncommon.

So I guess the big difference is for those that cannot afford the SCRAM bracelet. They will be given the alternative of checking into jail twice a day to give breath tests. Compared to the cost of a SCRAM bracelet which will run in excess of $300 a month this is a cost effective way to go.

I imagine this will become routine practice in every County in Washington State. The Courts will have to come up with the additional costs to provide breath tests at the jail, and the staff. But I think when Governor Inslee signed into law the DUI changes in 2013 they set aside a budget for this new DUI enforcement program, so the funds are there. I guess the real question is how effective it will be in curbing DUI cases in Washington State. And only time will tell regarding that.

About the author: Matthew Leyba is a DUI lawyer in the Seattle Bellevue area of Washington State. He has been named a Rising Star in the field of DUI Defense by the Seattle Met Magazine, an honor less than 2.5 of all Attorneys receive. In addition he is rated as a 10/10 Seattle DUI Lawyer by the website