Article I, section 7, of the Washington Constitution provides that “No person shall be disturbed in his private affairs, or his home invaded, without authority of law.” Washington criminal defense attorneys know that the privacy protections of section 7 provide greater coverage than the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution in some areas.
In a recent case, the Washington Supreme Court considered whether section 7 prohibits a requirement of random urinalysis of individuals on probation for a misdemeanor DUI offense. The defendant in this case pleaded guilty to a gross misdemeanor DUI offense. The trial court imposed a partially suspended sentence, with a condition that she not consume alcohol, marijuana, or nonprescribed drugs. The court also ordered that she submit to random urinalysis drug testing to monitor her compliance with that condition.
The defendant appealed on the grounds that the random urinalysis condition violated her privacy rights under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as well as article I, section 7 of the Washington Constitution. She argued that a warrantless search of an individual on probation for a misdemeanor “must be supported by a well-founded suspicion” that she violated one of the conditions. The court found in favor of the defendant, vacated the sentence, and remanded.