Last year the Washington State Patrol reported an 81% increase in DUI arrests over the Halloween holiday. This year the Washington State Patrol along with several other law enforcement agencies, including the Seattle Police, Bellevue Police, Redmond Police, and Shoreline Police departments just to name a few increased their DUI emphasis patrols over the weekend and on Halloween night.
What is a DUI emphasis patrol? It’s exactly what it sounds like. Law enforcement officers are asked to patrol roads and neighborhoods known to be high DUI traffic areas. For example I was out last weekend having dinner with my wife in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle. When we left the restaurant we counted three several Washington State Patrol officers, and one Seattle DUI Police Officer just on the way home. And this was fairly early in the evening.
Now imagine that happening all over King County and you will get the idea of how many law enforcement officers are on the road when a King County DUI emphasis patrol is happening. As I have blogged before I think having these DUI emphasis patrols can come very close to sobriety checkpoints (which I previously blogged on). How so you ask? Well think about it when you have a high concentration of law enforcements officers in a particular area and their sole purpose to to stop and investigate for DUI, then you run the risk of just pulling people over randomly or for committing minor traffic infractions. And the purpose of the police contact is not to actually enforce their traffic code, but to check for DUI drivers.
If you decide to go out this Halloween and you’re going to drink the safest thing to do is just not drive. Don’t have a drop of alcohol, as I have always said in this blog there is no such thing as a legal limit in Washington State. I have seen DUI cases in Seattle and other areas in Western WA where the blood alcohol level is below 0.05, which is well below the legal limit. However if you do find yourself in the position where you’re being investigated for a DUI by a Seattle Police Officer or some other law enforcement agency remember these three rules.
Be polite Don’t agree to do any field sobriety tests Ask to speak with a DUI Attorney
_ About the author: Matthew Leyba is a DUI Lawyer in Seattle, WA. His practice focuses on representing those charged with DUI and other traffic offenses. He is rated as a Suburb DUI Lawyer by Avvo.com and has been named a Rising Star in the area of DUI Defense by Super Lawyers Magazine, an honor less than 2.5% of all Attorneys receive.