St. Patrick’s Day Brings Irish Luck And DUI Emphasis Patrols

St. Patrick’s Day Brings Irish Luck And DUI Emphasis Patrols

Starting March 11, 2011, through March 20, 2011, law enforcement agencies will join forces throughout Whatcom, Skagit, Island, and almost every other county in Washington for a St. Pat's DUI emphasis patrol. During these calendar days, there will be extra police officers on patrol targeting one single crime — DUI. This local emphasis will not bring any luck to those who drink and drive to the point of being over the .08 limit.


Starting March 11, 2011, through March 20, 2011, law enforcement agencies will join forces throughout Whatcom, Skagit, Island, and almost every other county in Washington for a St. Pat’s DUI emphasis patrol. During these calendar days, there will be extra police officers on patrol targeting 1 single crime – DUI.

This local emphasis will not bring any luck to those who drink and drive to the point of being over the .08 limit.  Those who over consume will possibly be unlucky if they come in contact with specially trained officers who are focused on finding a reason to stop and arrest those suspected of DUI.  If a driver is suspected to be over the limit, the officer will likely request Voluntary Sobriety tests.  These tests take the form of following a pen with the eyes (HGN), Walking 9 steps, turning around, and walking back (Walk and Turn), and Standing on one leg for 30 seconds (One Leg Stand).  A driver who declines these tests, or a Portable Breath Test (PBT) will NOT lose their license for refusing, nor will they make their worse.  In fact, it makes the case more defensible.  Cooperation in the form of performing these tests will likely only lead the same result as politely declining the tests: a DUI arrest.

In order to stay lucky this St. Patrick’s day, Don’t Drink and Drive.  If you choose to down a few pints of Guinness, Irish Car Bombs, or just plain old green beer, plan ahead and arrange a ride.  While it is legal to drink and then drive, the low limit of .08 makes it easy to cross even for the most responsible drinker.

During this emphasis, there will be more troopers, officers, and deputies out looking for drunken drivers in Whatcom County.  With this coordinated effort driver’s will likely see officer’s from Blaine on patrol in Bellingham, and vice versa and any combination of local cities law enforcement.  This is because the agencies execute an agreement that permits all police agencies to patrol each other's jurisdictions during. Normally, only State Patrol or County Sheriff Officer’s have jurisdiction any within the four corners of the county, but with an emphasis comes cooperation.  For the month of march, these extra patrols coincide with St. Patrick’s Day celebrations and festivities.

Similar extra patrols last year during this same period arrested 33 suspected DUI’s  in the county, according to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission.  During this emphasis, the Washington State Patrol, Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office, along with Bellingham, Lynden, Ferndale and Western Washington University police departments are participating this year. The next likely emphasis is the days leading up to and after May 5th.