Seattle DUI - Why is a DUI trooper at my door?

As discussed in a previous blog, in 2009 the Washington State Patrol instituted a pilot “Ignition Interlock Compliance Program.” As part of that program, Washington State Patrol troopers are knocking on the doors of drivers who, after a Washington State DUI arrest or conviction, are required to have an ignition interlock device installed in their personal vehicles. The vast majority of drivers arrested for DUI have great anxiety about the prospect of damage to career and reputation that can be caused by public knowledge of the DUI arrest. For most folks, there is very little risk that they will be in the position of being arrested for DUI again after having once gone through the humiliating and frightening process. They just want to resolve the matter and quietly move on. “Quietly moving on” will now likely be interrupted by a personal visit to one’s residence by a uniformed Washington State Patrol officer in a marked police vehicle, in full view of the neighbors. Legal issues exist in this scenario: Is there legal authority for WSP to arrive on the doorstep demanding proof of compliance with the DUI ignition interlock laws? Is a citizen required to open his/her garage and let the officer in to examine the vehicle? Below is the text of the law that established the WSP DUI pilot Ignition Interlock Compliance Program.

RCW 46.20.745

Ignition interlock device revolving account program — Pilot program.

(1) The ignition interlock device revolving account program is created within the department to assist in covering the monetary costs of installing, removing, and leasing an ignition interlock device, and applicable licensing, for indigent persons who are required under *RCW 46.20.385 and 46.61.5055 to install an ignition interlock device in all vehicles owned or operated by the person. For purposes of this subsection, "indigent" has the same meaning as in RCW 10.101.010, as determined by the department.

(2) A pilot program is created within the ignition interlock device revolving account program for the purpose of monitoring compliance by persons required to use ignition interlock devices and by ignition interlock companies and vendors.

(3) The department, the state patrol, and the Washington traffic safety commission shall coordinate to establish a compliance pilot program that will target at least one county from eastern Washington and one county from western Washington, as determined by the department, state patrol, and Washington traffic safety commission.

(4) At a minimum, the compliance pilot program shall:

(a) Review the number of ignition interlock devices that are required to be installed in the targeted county and the number of ignition interlock devices actually installed;

(b) Work to identify those persons who are not complying with ignition interlock requirements or are repeatedly violating ignition interlock requirements; and

(c) Identify ways to track compliance and reduce noncompliance.

(5) As part of monitoring compliance, the Washington traffic safety commission shall also track recidivism for violations of RCW 46.61.502 and 46.61.504 by persons required to have an ignition interlock driver's license under *RCW 46.20.385.