The 2013 Washington State legislative session will be known as the year the State decided to get tough on DUIs, specifically when it came to repeat offenders. However due to budget constraints and other financial issues proponents of strengthening DUI laws might view the 2013 legislative session as what could have been. A recent article came out in the Seattle Times providing a glimpse of what changes the 2014 legislative session might look like to when it comes to more DUI laws, and those changes come in the form of DUI sobriety checkpoints.
Currently Washington State is one of the few States in the Country that forbids DUI checkpoints. They have been found to be unconstitutional and an unlawful infringement on one’s fourth amendment rights. However if some legislators get their way a new bill will be proposed in 2014. The Seattle Times provided the following:
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A legislative work group appears poised to recommend the state adopt random sobriety checkpoints to reduce drunken driving, a controversial idea that would likely require a constitutional amendment. Rep. Brad Klippert, R-Kennewick, said this week that his staff is drafting language for a new bill to authorize the checkpoints, which would stop drivers even if they have done nothing wrong. Kirkland Democrat Roger Goodman, the chairman of the state House Public Safety Committee, said he plans to hold a hearing on the proposal.
Now this is not the first time someone has proposed this idea. In fact as a DUI Lawyer in Seattle I often hear of the need for sobriety checkpoints. Proponents often cite a 2005 study by the National Cooperative Highway Research Program which found they may reduce alcohol-related crashes by between 15 and 30 percent. However in my opinion this study simply cherry picked some statistics and didn’t really offer any sort of tangible evidence of this reduction.
The ACLU has gone on record stating they would vehemently object this change in law as would many other civil libertarians. Imagine you’re driving in Seattle you run across one of these DUI sobriety checkpoints. You get detained, questioned, and possibly investigated for a Seattle DUI arrest and you have done nothing wrong and not had a drop of alcohol or taken any other drugs. Now multiply that by the hundreds of thousands of residents that would be victim to this unlawful detention and you get the problems these DUI sobriety checkpoints cause in a nutshell.
Here is the Seattle Times article if you want to check it out. The 2014 should be an interesting legislative session especially considering the view point many have that the 2013 legislative session was a failure because not all the DUI laws that were proposed were feasible.
About the author: If you need a DUI lawyer in Seattle then contact Matthew Leyba of Leyba Defense PLLC, a Seattle DUI Law firm located in the heart of downtown Seattle. Mr. Leyba exclusively represents those charge with DUI and has been rated as a Top DUI Lawyer in Seattle by Avvo.com and several other notable publications.