The in basket: Back on Dec. 31, I was included in the routing of a State Patrol news release that began thusly:
“Alcohol ignition interlocks in Washington will soon have a feature designed to prevent others from performing breath tests for the driver. Starting Jan. 1, a camera will snap a picture every time the machine is used, verifying that the driver is the person who took the test.
“Interlocks are required on the vehicles of those who’ve been accused or convicted of impaired driving. The machine requires a legal breath sample from the driver before allowing a car to start.”
It seemed like a smart idea, but I was skeptical of the second paragraph. I doubted that use of the interlocks was that widely required, and certainly not routinely of people who hadn’t been convicted.
I asked State Trooper Russ Winger if that paragraph was correct.
The out basket: Russ said that Claire Bradley in the Kitsap County prosecutor’s office would be a better person to ask about the nuts and bolts, but took a stab at an answer.
“They can be ordered by the court for any DUI conviction or deferred prosecution case,” he said. “I think they are being ordered more frequently on first offenders in Kitsap County – if not all now.
“Any DUI with a BA (blood alcohol reading) of .15 or higher is usually automatic for at least one year. Second and third offenses increase the time that the interlock may be required – up to two or three years – as well as increasing fines and the probationary period,” he said.
As he suggested, I next went to Claire Bradley, chief deputy prosecutor for Kitsap, who told me that on cases with an accusation but no conviction with the case pending, “the court has discretion to impose (an interlock) on any case. General guidelines are that if have there are any alcohol-related driving convictions in the past, a BAC (breathalyzer reading) above .15 or a refusal of BAC, the court will order installation of an IID as a condition of release. The court can certainly order on any case not involving these facts, but generally these are the cases they will order on.”
“There is a license suspension on any conviction for a DUI,” she said. “So, once convicted, the court tells the defendant their license will be suspended (if not already suspended).
The court also advises the defendant that they are required to apply for an ignition interlock license with the Department of Licensing. So, they are required to go to the DOL, follow DOL’s suspension rules and if qualified, they can get an Ignition Interlock License for the period of their suspension.
“Suspension periods range from 90 days (on first time DUI, under .15 BAC) to four years and beyond (multiple priors and over .15 or refusal).”
Auto Safe in Silverdale does a lot of the installations here, and David Ray of their office said there is a monthly fee to have an interlock, and the camera requirement added $20 to that.
It now starts with $97.61 to have the device, plus $7 monthly to insure it, plus $10 every 60 days to WSP, plus $20 every month to support a DOL program that helps pay the costs of an interlock device for anyone who meets a threshold as an indigent. There’s also a $95 installation fee the company waives if the device is kept for over a year, he said.