Last year, Washington lawmakers approved sweeping legislation targeting drunk drivers. One of the laws was the creation of a pilot program called 24/7 Sobriety. The idea would be to subject convicted drunk driving offenders who have been charged with (but not convicted of) a second DUI to undergo alcohol monitoring. The person would blow into a machine twice per day (paying $2 each time) and his or her blood alcohol content would be measured and logged. Unfortunately, this pilot program is already running into trouble.
Chelan County was originally tapped to be one of five jurisdictions to implement the 24/7 Sobriety program, but withdrew after it became clear that defense attorneys would test the constitutionality of the program in court, which would result in extensive legal costs for the county. The city of Kent dropped out for similar reasons. An analysis by judges indicated that the program could end up costing the city money instead of saving it. (To its credit, Kent was only planning on using the procedure for twice-convicted DUI offenders).
And there's bad news from other states as well. In Montana, where a similar program was enacted, a judge deemed the procedure unconstitutional because it amount to meting out punishment before a trial is held to determine guilt or innocence.
These legal developments don't bode well for the future of the 24/7 Sobriety concept. But it does represent a good sign for people who believe punishment should be reserved for people convicted of a crime instead of simply charged for one.