Beginning January 1st, a new pilot program will begin in some counties in Washington. This program is designed to crack down on repeat DUI offenders by requiring them to submit to daily substance use testing. King5.com is reporting that 24/7 DUI monitoring program will begin in 2014 for the following counties:
- Chelan County
- Spokane County
- Thurston County
- The City of Kent
- The City of Centralia
Currently, when a person is charged with a second DUI offense in Washington, they face 30 days to 1 year in jail, up to $5000 in fines and two years of license suspension. Under this new program a judge can also sentence them to the daily substance monitoring. The way this program will work is offenders can either report to jail twice a day in order to take a breath test or pay more money in order to wear an ankle monitor. The cost to the offender will be $4 a day if they choose to take a breath test and $12 a day if they choose the ankle monitor. Though the breath test is cheaper, it does require the offender to report to jail twice a day.
If, at any point, the test reads positive for the presence of drugs or alcohol, the offender will immediately be arrested. This new law is just a pilot program that is being tested; not all offenders convicted of a repeat DUI in these counties will be subject to this limit. Instead, a judge will be able to decide whether or not the offender will subject to the pilot program.
Law enforcement and DUI groups are excited about this new law as repeat DUI offenders are often a big concern when it comes to traffic safety. For others, this seems like a huge inconvenience and may cost a repeat offender their job if they have to leave work in order to report for daily testing. It will be interesting to see how widely accepted and used this program is. If it is successful in reducing the number of repeat DUI offenders, it may grow it may become the law in all counties in the future.