In June of 2012, the state of Washington officially released its nearly 80-year-old stronghold on liquor sales and permitted grocery stores and private businesses to sell hard alcohol. Amid the legislative shift, numerous public safety groups and organizations throughout the state decried the new changes, stating that allowing liquor to be sold in stores and businesses would result in more alcohol related problems. One county sheriff stated in a TV commercial that problem drinking could increase by as much as 48 percent.
Only it didn't. Despite these efforts, and in light of the emotionally potent ads that urged voters to reject the initiative, Washington residents approved the measure and hard alcohol hit store shelves – with results that were far from what public safety groups had envisioned. In fact, a recent study from the Washington Policy Center found that not only did these fear-mongering warnings not materialize, "problem drinking" actually decreased, as far as DUI related incidents were concerned.
In the year prior to the legislative change, there were 21,577 DUI arrests and 2,575 reported alcohol related accidents, according to statistics published by the Washington State Patrol. In the following year – from the passing of the initiative to June 2013, there were 19,703 DUI arrests and 2,347 reported alcohol-related collisions.
Although these statistics don't scientifically prove a factual cause-and-effect relationship – there are too many factors at play in DUI rates, including aggressive anti-DUI campaigns and alcohol education awareness – but they do help illustrate that selling hard alcohol in grocery stores and private businesses doesn't cause a nearly 50% in problem drinking explosion that the initiative's opponents claimed it would either.
Although these statistics are reassuring to many, the fact remains that law enforcement officers throughout the state of Washington still place DUIs high on their lists of things to be concerned about. If you, a loved one, or someone you care about has been arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, make no mistake about the serious penalties that may result upon a conviction. Take the steps needed to work with an experienced Seattle DUI attorney who is prepared to fight on your behalf. Contact DUI Heroes to learn more about your DUI defense or call (866)620-9524.