Will Sobriety Checkpoints ever come to Washington State

Last year when King County saw several high profile vehicular homicide and Seattle DUI cases the State Legislature sprung into action and passed what many considered to be the toughest DUI laws our State has ever seen. However no sooner did the 2013 legislative session end, law makers are already in action thinking of ways to strengthen DUI laws in Washington State. One of those laws could be the passage of DUI sobriety checkpoints.

State Representative Roger Goodman, widely known as the architect of this years Washington State DUI bill wants a focus for 2014 Washington State legislative session to be roadside sobriety checkpoints. He points out that Washington State is one of a few states that don’t have them. However research shows they reduced DUI deaths caused by accidents in the States that do employ them by 15-30%. “The research shows sobriety checkpoints are the most effective means in reducing deaths and serious injuries. It’s the only thing left in Washington state we have not enacted,” Goodman said.

Currently Washington State has found that DUI sobriety checkpoints are unconstitutional. It’s important to keep in mind that Washington State has greater fourth amendment protections that many other States in our Country as well as the Federal Constitution. In my opinion as a DUI Lawyer in Seattle there are several reasons why I highly doubt DUI sobriety checkpoints would have pass in our State.

First as I stated they violate fourth amendment privacy rights. Remember a DUI checkpoint requires law enforcement to stop every driver at this checkpoint. This includes sober drivers, as well as possible DUI drivers. Secondly and most importantly is the cost. Keep in mind the reason Representative Goodman and Governor Inslee didn’t get their way this legislative session was due to the budget. What they initially proposed would have cost $300 million. How much would it cost to employ these checkpoints, have law enforcement officers man them, as well as the delays they would cause.

About the author: Matthew Leyba is a Seattle Bellevue DUI Lawyer in Western WA. If you have been arrested for DUI contact our office immediately to set up a free consultation where we can discuss your rights and what your options might be.