October 17th, 2019
Today the Washington State Supreme Court found Washington State's Mandatory Tow Law to be unconstitutional. The law, known as Hailey's Law, requires police to impound the vehicle driven by a person they arrest for DUI. No exceptions. Under the law it doesn't matter if the vehicle is safely parked, off the road, or if another person is present who could drive the vehicle. I have seen cases where Hailey's Law was used to impound a car from the driveway of someone who was arrested for DUI. Getting the vehicle out of impound is time consuming and costly. Is it legal to tow a car after a DUI arrest without police first considering the alternatives, or getting a warrant? The Washington State Supreme Court has unanimously answered "No" to this question. The Mandatory Tow Law is unconstitutional. The Court emphasized that the legislature does not have the power to legislate away our constitutional rights. The published case is State v. Villela, No. 96183-2.