Maybe folks over in Whatcom County were excited that October is finally here, meaning they could officially start attending Oktoberfest celebrations or super-early Halloween parties. But over the weekend of October 4 through October 7, local law enforcement officials reported that they made 20 DUI arrests in Whatcom County.
Eleven arrests were made by Washington State Patrol officers, three were made by the Whatcom County Sheriff's department, two were made by the Bellingham Police Department, and law enforcement in Ferndale, Sumas, Everson, and the Lummi Nation had one DUI arrest each. In comparison, only 12 people were booked into the Whatcom County jail for DUI the previous weekend.
DUI Checkpoints in Washington
Those 20 who were arrested and booked in Whatcom County for DUI were not caught in multiple DUI checkpoints. First of all, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled in 1988 that DUI checkpoints were unconstitutional because they “violated the right to not be disturbed in one's private affairs.” Washington is one of ten states that does not allow DUI checkpoints; the other states include Idaho, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
So how were the 20 people in Whatcom County arrested? Even though DUI checkpoints aren't allowed in Washington, law enforcement is allowed to operate “emphasis patrols,” which are campaigns where officials announce ahead of time that they will be on the lookout for various driving violations such as DUI, distracted driving, or not slowing down in an emergency or work zone.
In Washington, the police have to have a “probable cause” to pull you over. In other words, they can only pull you over if they witnessed you:
- Failing to use turn signals
- Failing to maintain a lane
- Driving without your lights on
- Driving with broken taillights
If you are pulled over for some such traffic violation and the officer suspects that you might be under the influence of either alcohol or drugs, they may then ask you to step out of the car and submit to a field sobriety test, and then if you fail the field test, you will be asked to submit to a chemical test.
DUI Defense Attorney Steve Karimi
An experienced DUI defense attorney will know exactly how to break down the charges against you and defend your rights. If you were charged with a DUI and think your rights were violated because there was no probable cause for your traffic stop, you may have a strong case. Call the Law Offices of Steve Karimi today at 206-621-8777 or fill out a contact form to get started on learning more.