After January 1, intoxicated drivers may face much tougher punishment after their second offense.
The 24/7 DUI Monitoring Program begins in 5 areas: Chelan County, Spokane County, and Thurston County, as well as in the cities of Kent and Centralia.
Drivers charged with their second DUI in those areas will face a judge who may place them in the pilot program, requiring daily monitoring of any substance use.
They will either report to jail twice a day to give a breath test or pay more for an ankle monitor.
Offenders pay the bill, $4 a day for the breath test and up to $12 a day for the ankle monitor.
“If they pass the test, they’re out the door. If they fail the test, they’re incarcerated,” explained Program Manager Bruce Bjork.
Repeat offenders are a major frustration for law enforcement officers like WSP Trooper Ray Seaburg, who never know what will happen after they arrest someone.
“I get people asking me this question all the time: ‘What’s going to happen next?’” Trooper Seaburg said. “I tell them, ‘I wish I could tell you,’ because it’s different for everybody.”
Saturday night, Trooper Seaburg arrested a man for DUI after stopping him for erratic driving, detecting marijuana on his breath, and performing a field sobriety test.
Even if the man is convicted, Trooper Seaburg calls the current system "ineffective".
"It puts people back out on the street with lesser penalty than with maybe what they should have,” he said.