Apparently, the legislative movement to heavily monitor defendants charged with DUI is gaining momentum.
Starting January 1, intoxicated drivers charged with their second DUI in Chelan County, Spokane County, and Thurston County may face much tougher punishment after their second offense.
The “24/7 DUI Monitoring Program” requires daily monitoring of any substance use. Defendants – who are still innocent until proven guilty, mind you – must either report to jail twice a day to give a breath test or pay more for an ankle monitor. Offenders pay $4 a day for the breath test and up to $12 a day for the ankle monitor.
“If they pass the test, they’re out the door. If they fail the test, they’re incarcerated,” explained Program Manager Bruce Bjork.
Repeat offenders are a major frustration for law enforcement officers. Many complain the current laws puts people back out on the street with lesser penalties than what they should have.
My opinion? The monitoring is another way of “plea tenderizing” defendants into pleading guilty to alcohol-related offenses. Daily monitoring is a significant inconvenience in time and money. As a result, defendants beleaguered with the time and expense of this excessive pretrial monitoring will want to plead guilty to DUI or a lesser alcohol related charge simply to stop the monitoring rather than fight the case on its merits.