Currently, Washington does not permit law enforcement officers to conduct DUI checkpoints because they violate state constitution. In 39 other states throughout the nation, however, sobriety checkpoints have become one of the primary methods officers use to crack down on drunk and impaired drivers. If one Washington lawmaker has his way, the state will add checkpoints to its arsenal of DUI enforcement efforts.
Roger Goodman, a Democrat representative from Kirkland, spent the last legislative session voicing his support for tightening Washington's DUI laws and increasing penalties for convicted individuals. This coming January, he is planning to present a proposal for creating a sobriety checkpoint program. His goal is to have these checkpoints set up in specified areas on mostly Friday and Saturday nights. Weekend and holiday checkpoints are common tactics in states that allow them.
DUI Checkpoints are Prohibited in Washington
The problem is that Washington courts prohibit DUI checkpoints. This is because law enforcement officers at checkpoints pull over law abiding drivers in addition to intoxicated drivers. State courts consider this to be an invasion of privacy.
Still, Goodman remains steadfast in his plan to bring checkpoints to Washington. According to law enforcement statistics, states with sobriety checkpoints have been able to reduce alcohol related traffic deaths and injuries by as must as 25 or 30 percent. In addition to the constitutional battle he faces, he also faces the debate of whether or not voters would be comfortable with officers conducting checkpoints. He also plans to continue his push for increasing DUI penalties, including longer terms of imprisonment.
A Tough Stance on DUI
Increasing DUI enforcement and penalties is yet another sign that cracking down on drunk driving has become a top priority. Although constitutional and political debates are sure to come, the fact is that DUIs are treated as a serious and dangerous criminal offense. Officers, prosecutors, and judges comprise a criminal justice system that is steadily increasing efforts to convict and penalize DUI offenders. Whether DUI checkpoints are introduced this coming year or not, the trend of increasing severity is one already in motion.
For this reason alone, anyone who has been charged with driving under the influence in Snohomish County, King County, or any of the communities throughout the state of Washington should be intent on working with an experienced and proven Seattle DUI lawyer from DUI Heroes.
If you would like to learn more about the charges and penalties you face and how Attorney Jonathan Dichter can fight to protect your future, call (425) 296-9358 for a free case evaluation.