DUI: Washington State Laws

Washington DUI Consequences

The penalties for a Washington DUI conviction range from the obvious (jail and fines) to the obscure (limits on freedom to travel within and outside of the country, immigration issues). These penalties, along with the potential of having a DUI on one’s record, represent the reason most people lose sleep upon being arrested for a DUI.

Apart from the immediate DUI penalties upon conviction, the biggest long-term impact is the fact of the conviction itself. A DUI conviction cannot be expunged from one’s record, meaning that it will always be there. It will be there for purposes of adding substantial penalties to potential future DUIs.  It will be there to affect future employment prospects, or for criminal background checks. But it does not have to be. A DUI charge can be beaten.

Review these potential penalties so that you know what could happen. But also know that by hiring a skilled DUI Criminal Defense attorney you can avoid these and other sanctions.

What is Considered a DUI in Washington State?

Prosecuting those arrested and charged with driving under the influence (DUI) has been the State of Washington’s largest criminal justice priority for the last 20 years.  The statute governing DUI in the state of Washington is RCW 46.61.502. It sets forth the basic elements needed for a conviction. RCW 46.61.506 deals with what is necessary for a breath test to be admissible while RCW 46.61.5055 sets out, in a convoluted format, the mandatory penalties imposed on a DUI conviction.

There are two ways in which the state can attempt to prove DUI. The most common and well known is by proving that a person had a .08 or greater breath or blood alcohol concentration within two hours of driving. It is an affirmative defense to this charge if the individual can prove by a preponderance of the evidence that alcohol that had been consumed after the time of driving was the cause of a .08 breath or blood alcohol level.

The other method is by proving that the individual had been driving under the influence or combined influence of alcohol or drugs. To be successful, the state would have to prove that the defendant had been “appreciably affected” by alcohol or drugs consumed prior to the time of driving. The state relies on this prong of the DUI statute when it does not have a breath or blood test to use, either because the court has deemed it inadmissible, the individual allegedly refused the BAC test or there is not a test available for some other reason (i.e. BAC machine malfunction)

DUI charges can change your life. Don’t take their word for it. Get the support you need. We specialize in DUI charges and protecting your civil rights.

 

Washington State DUI Sentencing Grid

 

No Prior Offenses Within Past 7 Years One Prior Offense Within Past 7 Years Two or More Prior Offenses Within Past 7 Years
Alcohol Concentration Less Than .15 or No Test Result
Jail Time 1-364 Days (24 consecutive hours non-suspendable) 30-364 Days (30 days non-suspendable 90-364 Days (90 days non-suspendable)
Electronic Home Monitoring* In Lieu of Mandatory Minimum Jail Time, Not Less Than 15 Days 60 Days 120 Days
Fine $350-$5,000 ($823 total minimum fine w/statutory assessments) $500-$5,000 ($1,078 total minimum fine w/statutory assessments) $1,000-$5,000 ($1,928 total minimum fine w/statutory assessments)
Driver’s License 90 Day Suspension Two Year Revocation Three Year Revocation
Ignition Interlock Device Mandatory Mandatory Mandatory
Alcohol/Drug Ed. or Treatment As Determined by the Court As Determined by the Court As Determined by the Court
Alcohol Concentration at Least .15 or Greater or Test Refusal
Jail Time 2-364 Days (2 consecutive mandatory) 45-364 Days (45 days mandatory) 120-364 Days (120 days mandatory)
Electronic Home Monitoring* In Lieu of Mandatory Minimum Jail Time, Not Less Than 30 Days 90 Days 150 Days
Fine $500-$5,000 ($1,078 total minimum fine w/statutory assessments) $750-$5,000 ($1,503 total minimum fine w/statutory assessments) $1,500-$5,000 ($2,778 total minimum fine w/statutory assessments)
Driver’s License 1 Year Revocation (2 years if BAC refused; Chapter 95,Laws 2004) 2 Year Revocation (3 years if BAC refused; Chapter 95,Laws 2004) 4 Year Revocation
Ignition Interlock Device Mandatory Mandatory Mandatory
Alcohol/Drug Ed. or Treatment As Determined by the Court As Determined by the Court As Determined by the Court

The number of times you have been arrested for or charged with DUI has a significant bearing on how you will be treated by the system.  Cops, prosecutors, judges, treatment agencies and even defense attorneys will all analyze your situation differently based on how many times you have been charged with DUI.  It seems obvious to say that a person who has three prior DUI convictions will be treated much more severely than the person who is facing his first offense.  This section is designed to give a broad overview of what one might expect based upon his or her DUI related history. And though there is a DUI Sentencing Guideline chart on this site, this will attempt to give you a more practical sense of both the procedural and substantive differences you will face.

Regardless of where you fall on this list, contact a Seattle DUI Lawyer as soon as possible for a consultation regarding the specifics of your case.

Click the link below that best describes your circumstance:

 

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