DUI

A DUI in Washington State is considered to be a gross misdemeanor which means that the maximum jail time is 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine.  It is NOT considered a felony as some believe, although if you have 4 prior DUI’s within the past 10 years, the fifth one will be charged as a DUI Class C Felony.  Additionally if the DUI causes serious bodily injury or death to another you could get charged with the Felony vehicular assault or vehicular homicide, respectively.  If you have a prior vehicular assault or homicide conviction, then the subsequent DUI will also be charged as a Class C Felony. wine dui

In Washington State, pursuant to RCW 46.61.502,a person is guilty of DUI if they drove a vehicle if they drove a vehicle:

  1. With a blood or breath alcohol level (BAC) of .08 within 2 hours of driving; OR
  2. With a blood THC(marijuana) level of 5 nanograms per millileter (mL) within 2 hours of driving; OR
  3. While under the influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor or drugs (no test is needed to prove); OR
  4. While under the combined influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor and any drug (no test is needed to prove).

It is a defense to the charge if one can prove that alcohol or marijuana consumption occurred after driving but before a breath or blood test was administered.  Additionally, “drugs” can refer not only to illegal narcotics but also to prescribed medications and over-the-counter medication (Benadryl for example.).  In other words, simply legally possessing the medication is not a defense.

DUI PENALTIES IN WASHINGTON STATE – “THE DUI GRID” – PER THE WASHINGTON COURTS AND DOL – see RCW 46.61.5055

In Washington State, if you are charged with a DUI, you are potentially facing certain mandatory minimum penalties that MUST be imposed if you are convicted and the Judge has no discretion to be able to go below the mandatory minimum penalties.   The mandatory minimum penalties follows a graduated system of penalties based on whether there are any prior offenses within the past 7 years and also based on the results of the breath/blood test or refusal of breath / blood test.  As such, the penalties will vary because of the various factors at play e.g. breath test over .15 or under .15, refusal of breath test and/or first time or priors within seven years.  The penalties are placed in a “DUI Grid” by the Washington Courts for easier understanding and reference of the penalties involved for the particular facts of your case.  Please consult an attorney when discussing the penalties you may face if convicted of a DUI.

 

COURT DUI SENTENCING GRID

 

BAC Result < .15 or No Test Result

First Offense/No Prior Within Last 7 Years One Prior Offense Within Last 7 Years Two or Three Prior Offenses Within Last 7 Years
Mandatory Minimum Jail Time 24 Consecutive Hours (or 15 days of EHM [house arrest]) 30 Consecutive Days 90 Consecutive Days
Mandatory Electronic Home Monitoring (EHM) None (in lieu of jail ok) 60 Days 120 Days
Mandatory Minimum Fines $940.50 $1,195.50 $2,045.50
Driver’s License Penalty 90 Day Suspension 2 Year Revocation 3 Year Revocation
Ignition Interlock License and Device Installation Required Required Required
Alcohol/Drug Evaluation and Treatment As Ordered As Ordered As Ordered

BAC Result ≥ .15 or Test Refusal

First Offense/No Prior Within Last 7 Years One Prior Offense Within Last 7 Years Two or Three Prior Offenses Within Last 7 Years
Mandatory Minimum Jail Time 2 Consecutive Days (or 30 Days EHM) 45 Days 120 Days
Mandatory Electronic Home Monitoring (EHM) None (in lieu of jail ok) 90 Days 150 Days
Mandatory Minimum – Maximum Fines $1,195.50 $1,620.50 $2,895.50
Driver’s License Penalty 1 Year Revocation (or 2 Year Revocation if BAC Refused) 900 Days Revocation (or 3 Year Revocation if BAC Refused) 4 Year Revocation
Ignition Interlock License and Device Installation Required Required Required
Alcohol/Drug Evaluation and Treatment As Ordered As Ordered As Ordered