Oversight lacking for home detention companies monitoring DUI offenders?

Is there oversight lacking for home detention companies monitoring DUI offenders? I recently came across an article in the Seattle Times written by a guest columnist suggesting that there is a lack of oversight for those sentenced to home detention following a Seattle DUI. In my opinion as a DUI lawyer practicing in Seattle, I disagree with this article.

The columnist states “In many jurisdictions around the state, including King and Snohomish counties, offenders can shop for the cheapest or most lenient electronic-home-detention company. These companies compete on price and ease, instead of the qualities that would promote a safer community. DUI offenders are in the driver’s seat when it comes to selecting programs that are less restrictive and avoiding those that hold them accountable”

In my experience this couldn’t be further from what actually happens. Most of my DUI practice is in both King and Snohomish Counties so I’m pretty familiar with how the home detention process is set up. In those jurisdictions I’m not aware of any Court that allows the defendant to shop around for home detention providers. It is typically referred to by the Probation department. Additionally if even if there are private companies that are allowed to offer their home detention services. I fail to see how this is a bad thing.

To remain competitive these companies will need to offer consistent rates on their services. I highly doubt there is a company out there that is going to offer a rate that is half what the other companies offer.

Secondly the columnist also discusses how their are companies out there that do not monitor the defendant adequately. Again this is not my experience. I’m not aware of any company that takes a lackadaisical approach to the home detention. Heck I think it is quite the opposite. Especially when most of these defendants are also being monitored by a probation officer for their DUI case. Basically there are two ways the defendants are being monitored and if one company had the reputation that this columnist suggests I highly doubt there is a Judge in King or Snohomish County that would allow this on a DUI case.

Look I get the back lash towards DUIs. Especially in light of the tragedies we had earlier this year in the Seattle area. But I truly believe the punishments and consequences for a first offense DUI are higher in Washington State than most States in our Country. To write a column and suggest certain things, and not provide any examples or data is just poor reporting. If you’re interested here is the article. About the only thing this guy got right was the cost of the home detention.

About the author: Matthew Leyba is a DUI Lawyer in Seattle Bellevue area. His practice focuses on representing those charged with DUI and other traffic offenses. He is rated as a Superb DUI Lawyer by Avvo, and is a Rising Star in the field of DUI Defense by Super Lawyers Magazine.