State Supreme Court: The government can’t make you pee in a cup just because it charged you with DUI

Thursday, October 12, 2017
Every person in America has a right to be free from invasive searches by the government, and that right does not disappear simply because one is accused of a crime.
The Washington State Supreme Court reaffirmed the right to privacy this month when it ruled that requiring a person to submit to suspicionless urinalysis (UA) testing as a condition of release after a DUI arrest violates the Washington Constitution.
The Court based its ruling in Blomstrom, et al. v. Tripp partly on two previous ACLU of Washington cases, Robinson v. Seattle (2000) and York v. Wahkiakum School District (2008). In both of these cases, the court ruled that suspicionless drug tests by a government institution are unconstitutional.
Blomstrom involves three people who were each charged with DUI and had been ordered to submit to random UA testing for drugs and alcohol several times a month or be held in jail until trial.
Article 1, Section 7 of the Washington Constitution states that, “No person should be disturbed in his private affairs, or in his home, without the authority of law.”
UA testing disturbs a person’s private affairs and constitutes an “acute privacy invasion by the state,” the court said in its decision. Citing York, the Court found that individuals have a right to privacy in their bodily functions, and that bodily functions get “heightened protection” under Article 1 Section 7 of the Washington constitution.
By requiring the petitioners in Blomstrom to submit to random drug testing as a condition of their release before trial, the state subjected them to warrantless searches, the court said.
There was no authority of law to justify such warrantless searches. While there is a federal ‘special needs’ exception allowing warrantless searches in some limited circumstances, the court rejected that exception under the state constitution.