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Court Rules Random Drug Tests After DUI Arrests Are Unconstitutional

Maureen Meehan

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Court Rules Random Drug Tests After DUI Arrests Are Unconstitutional

The Washington Supreme Court recently ruled that requiring people arrested for driving under the influence to submit to random urinalysis tests is unconstitutional.

The case ended up in the Supreme Court after three people were arrested in 2015 for driving under the influence. Each defendant was ordered to participate in random urinalysis testing as a condition for their pretrial release.

All three challenged the request with the Spokane County Superior Court, which denied it.

However, the state Supreme Court reversed that decision. The case was returned to the Superior Court for further proceedings in a decision written by Justice Charles Wiggins and signed by five justices.

One of the defendants, Cortney Blomstrom, was requested by the state to undergo random urinalysis four times a month. She objected, citing her lack of criminal record. The court also required that she abstain from using alcohol, citing public safety.

Another of the three defendants was arrested for driving under the influence of marijuana and was court ordered to undergo four random urinalysis tests a month.

The third defendant was also requested by the court to undergo weekly random urinalysis testing.

All three challenged the testing conditions as violating federal and state constitutions.

“Urinalysis is at least as invasive as a roadblock or a pat down search,” the Supreme Court said, concluding that court-ordered testing “constitutes an acute privacy invasion by the state.”

Four justices issued a partial dissent.

“Once an individual has been arrested on probable cause for certain offenses, such as DUI, courts have the authority to prohibit drug and alcohol use,” argued the dissent, according to the Seattle Times.

“Judges should not be categorically prohibited from imposing necessary and narrowly tailored release conditions on defendants arrested on probable cause for DUI,” the dissent concluded.

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