OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Repeat drunk drivers can avoid jail time under one provision of a newly signed law, but they must stay sober.
Later this year judges in three counties and two cities will offer repeat offenders a chance to participate in a “24/7” monitoring program, in lieu of incarceration.
Offenders could be given ankle bracelets that detect alcohol use from their sweat, remote breathalyzers could be installed in their homes or they can be assigned portable devices that look like a cell phone, but detect alcohol on someone’s breath.
Most of the devices take digital photographs of the test subject to make sure the offender is the one giving a sample.
If someone tests positive for alcohol use or tampers with the equipment, they can be sent to jail.
“Most clients want to be successful,” said Raeanne Myers from the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs.
Myers said the association sees a very low failure rate with agencies that already use the sober monitoring devices.
“If you have a client that has an alcohol problem this helps them get structure in their life and lets them know they are going to be held accountable,” said Myers.
Before the monitoring becomes mandatory across the state, the program will be studied under a pilot launch in the still to be selected counties and cities.