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The Impaired Driving Section of the Washington State Patrol

Posted by Aaron J. Wolff | May 21, 2012 | 0 Comments

The Impaired Driving Secion (IDS) of the Washington State Patrol serves many functions in DUI detection and enforcement throughout Washington. The IDS is comprised of the Breath Test Program (BTP), Ignition Interlock, Drug Recognition Expert, Standardized Field Sobriety Test and Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor Programs of the WSP. They also manage the Mobile Impaired Driving Unit (MIDU) - a 36 foot converted Winnebago equipped with three breath test machines and two holding cells which travels throughout the state to assist law enforcement with DUI enforcement.

The Breath Test Program (BTP) manages all of the 220 breath test machines in use in Washington. The BTP is also responsible for the maintenance and certification of the instruments. The BTP is comprised of 13 technicians, two sergeants and one administrative assistant. The 13 technicians provide operator certification (and re-certification) to use the instruments following a Washington State DUI arrest for the over 8000 law enforcement officers in Washington. The technicians also provide expert testimony to fulfill the foundational requirements of the breath test results in a DUI trial. The BTP has just re-designed it's public records website which provides information on the breath test records and repair records for all breath test instruments. To access the WSP's Web Discovery Materials click here.

The Ignition Interlock Program is responsible for all aspects of the usage of ignition interlocks in Washington. They interpret legislative mandate and certifies and oversees all ignition interlock manufacturers in Washington. They also provide information and education to law enforcement throughout the State.

The Drug Recognition and Classification Program began in 1996 as a means to train officers to detect impairment in drivers under the influence other than, or in addition to, alcohol. A Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) is trained to recognize the symptons of intoxication of 7 different types drugs. Consisting of a twelve step program, the evaluations are performed 1500 times yearly by over 200 DRE officers in Washington State.

The Standardized Field Sobriety Test Program was created a little over two years ago to ensure that all law enforcement are familiar with the proper administration and interpretation of the tests. These tests are typically heavily relied upon by law enforcement in their DUI arrest decisions. The program provides training in the student, instructor and refresher courses for law enforcement.

The Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutors are comprised of two attorneys- Moses Garcia and Courtney Popp- who serve as statewide resources for law enforcement and prosecutors on legal issues concerning Washington DUI arrests. The two prosecutors joined the WSP in 2009 and are currently creating an extensive trial notebook and website to assist prosecutor's with their DUI cases.

While not every DUI arrest in Washington is by a WSP Trooper, the IDS, with all of it's programs, is clearly involved in almost every Washington State DUI case.

About the Author

Aaron J. Wolff

A former DUI prosecutor, Aaron Wolff has over 18 years of experience in representing people accused of DUI and is recognized as one of the leading defense lawyers in Washington State. His relentless and passionate advocacy has lead to superb ratings and outstanding reviews from former clients.


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