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Expect more DUI arrests in Washington

Drunk driving arrests are down in Washington state. This may come as a surprise to you, especially if police recently arrested you for DUI. However, you must be one of the few because recent reports show state police are not arresting as many people for driving while impaired. Because of this, the public outcry is increasing.

As a result of the sharp decline in DUI arrests, the state is taking steps to increase the chances of catching you if you drive after drinking. In light of recent DUI fatalities, you may be hearing more from lawmakers and law enforcement who are determined to reverse the trend.

Why are fewer people facing DUI charges?

The latest data from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission shows 258 fatalities in one year from accidents involving alcohol. However, in that same year, police in Washington arrested 10,771 fewer drivers for alcohol-related offenses. It's hard for officials not to make a correlation between the two, and they are concerned about the pattern. Authorities suggest several reasons for the decline in DUI arrests, including:

  • Fewer troopers on the road
  • Inadequate pay for law enforcement
  • More drug-related arrests, which take more time to process
  • Increases in administrative details required of police

In fact, after your DUI arrest, an investigating officer may have completed up to 16 pages of documentation, and many of those forms require the same information.

Police are rethinking their priorities

Nevertheless, from a law enforcement standpoint, you may see changes happening quickly. Authorities believe that to increase the number of DUI arrests will decrease the number of alcohol-related accidents, injuries and fatalities. To this end, police have already added new software to their patrol cars to allow them to tend to their paperwork in a more efficient manner. Additionally, the state legislature has approved a pay raise for police, and 50 new officers are trained and ready to patrol.

Law enforcement considers implementing Washington's DUI laws to be a top priority. This may mean you can expect to see more state police on the road and more diligence in looking out for impaired drivers. However, just because police arrested you for DUI does not automatically mean you are going to jail. Despite the aggressive nature with which police intend to fight DUI offenses, you still have the right to protect your future with a strong defensive strategy.

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Tim Kelly

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