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Crime, Law and Justice
Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Accused Could Have To Pay For Alcohol, Drug Monitoring In Washington

alcohol_monitor.jpg
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File photo. Drug and alcohol monitoring can cost thousands of dollars.

Accused criminals in Washington could be required to pay thousands of dollars for drug and alcohol monitoring while they await trial.

A panel of state lawmakers Wednesday voted to allow courts to impose this kind of monitoring regardless of cost. Currently, judges in Washington can’t impose pre-trial requirements on the accused that exceed $150.

David Larson, a Federal Way Municipal Court judge, old lawmakers that after the Supreme Court recently affirmed that limit he took someone off alcohol monitoring.

“Because the defendant objected to continuing to have to pay for that,” Larson said.

Larson testified in support of a proposal to exempt drug and alcohol monitoring from the $150 limit. But Elizabeth Padulla representing criminal defense attorneys disagreed.

“An individual could be on supervision for six months, rack up a fee -- about $3,500, $4,000 -- be acquitted,” Padulla said. And, she added, still owe the money.

The measure would also exempt a sobriety monitoring program created after horrific crashes in the Seattle area involving repeat drunk drivers.