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DUI Probation: High Court Says Random UA’s Okay

Posted Friday, August 11, 2017 by Andrew Charles Huff

Can a court order a person on probation for a DUI submit to a urinalysis tests without violating their privacy interests under our state constitution? This was the question recently facing our State Supreme Court in State v. Olsen.

In this case, the trial Court ordered Ms Olsen not to consume alcohol, marijuana, or nonprescribed drugs and submit to “random urine analysis screens … to ensure compliance with conditions regarding the consumption of alcohol and controlled substances.”

Washington courts have generally held that for ordinary citizens, suspicion less urinalysis testing constitutes a disturbance of their private affairs that, absent authority of law, violates article I, section 7 of the State Constitution. The Supreme Court has consistently held that this nonconsensual removal of bodily fluids implicates privacy interests.

However, State Courts have also upheld blood or urine tests of prisoners, probationers, and parolees without explicitly conducting an analysis under article I, section 7. The Court has held that probationers do not enjoy constitutional privacy protection to the same degree as other citizens and simply have a reduced expectation of privacy. The court reasoned that the random testing in this case is narrowly tailored to monitor compliance with a validly imposed probation condition. Thus, the judgment and sentence constitutes sufficient “authority of law” to require random U.A.’s.

In this case, because the urinalysis was to ensure compliance with a probation condition requiring abstinence, it did not violate the State Constitution and therefore random UAs, under certain circumstances, are a constitutionally permissible form of close scrutiny of DUI probationers.

State v. Olsen, No. 93315-4

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