As I blogged about several weeks ago. A new set of DUI laws in Washington State was recently passed by the State Legislature. Originally the new laws would have made Washington State the toughest state in the nation when it came to DUI penalties. But due to budget restraints and the current economy what was passed a few weeks is but a shell of what was originally proposed.
However one of the original ideas made it all the way through the signing and passage into law by Governor Inslee. And that is the 24/7 alcohol monitoring program. From what I hear this may be an excellent option for those who are repeat DUI offenders. Essentially it offers the chance to avoid jail if an individual agrees to be monitored and remain completely abstinent for a long period of time.
Due to the nature of this pilot program a lot of the details are not yet fully worked out. From what I hear this program will be implemented in three counties and two cities. The plan is for these jurisdictions to measure their success rates, costs, and issues with the program and then report back.
Participants in the program will be required to wear a bracelet that detects alcohol consumption. Probably very similar to a SCRAM bracelet or some other device that detects alcohol through your sweat glands. Additionally there may be a breathalyzer installed at your home connected to a phone line. There will be very strict probation monitoring guidelines and a complete abstinence from alcohol and other mood altering drugs.
What is not clear is how much discretion will the programs have in deciding whether someone has violated the terms of the agreement. In other words if someone tests positive for alcohol are they going to jail immediately for the duration of their mandatory sentence or will there be a second or third chance. My bet is it will be very strict and if a participant consumes a drop of alcohol they will be immediately booted from the program and will go straight to jail.
Like a deferred prosecution entering into this type of program should not be taken lightly. Yes avoiding jail sounds like a wonderful idea. But this type of program is a complete lifestyle change. In addition to the alcohol monitoring there will be treatment you have to complete as well. But it does give an individual an option to help themselves and change their life rather than going to jail where no good will come of it.
About the author: Matthew Leyba is a DUI Lawyer in Seattle, WA. He is a rising star in the field of DUI Defense, and is a Top rated DUI Attorney by Avvo. His practice focuses on representing those accused of DUI and other traffic offenses.