Seattle, WA- Law enforcement officials in Washington have stated that they’ve seen an increase in DUI arrests following the legalization of recreational marijuana. There’s also been expressed frustration from police over the length of time involved in obtaining a warrant to draw blood from a person suspected of driving under the influence of marijuana.
Seattle police say that a traditional warrant to obtain a blood drawing from a suspect can take hours, which has been deemed “unacceptable” by Seattle Police Detective Chris Leyba. “Marijuana dissipates in about 90 minutes from the blood so 3-4 hours later we’re not getting good evidence,” he said.
Lebya reported that “we’re starting to see those people on the roads, impaired by marijuana,” and said that law enforcement is expected to seek more search warrants for those drivers.
In an effort to hasten the process, a new digital warrant system is being put into place. In the current system, police officers fill out paperwork to bring to a judge. An online database will allow digital transfer of data between police officers, judges and prosecutors, and a judge will be able to issue a warrant electronically. According to King5.com, the new system could shorten the time taken to get a blood draw warrant from 4 hours to 30 minutes.
A similar process has been used in Missouri to accelerate police officers’ abilities to obtain blood drawings from suspected drunk drivers.
After the process undergoes a pilot stage this fall, it will be officially utilized sometime next year.