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Washington DUI Law

In 2004, there were 561 deaths on highways in the state of Washington.  203 of those deaths occurred in accidents where at least one driver was over the legal limit (B.A.C. of .08 or greater).  127 of the traffic fatalities involved a driver who was more than twice the legal limit (B.A.C. of .16 or greater).

Legal Standard:

Washington makes it illegal to drive or be in physical possession of a motor vehicle if you (a) have a Blood Alcohol Concentration of .08 or greater, (b) are under the influence of intoxicating drugs or liquor or, (c) are under the influence of some combination of drugs and liquor. 

Penalties

First Offense: Jail Time: 1 day to 1 year.  The mandatory minimum 24 hours may be suspended if the court determines that the sentence would pose a significant risk to the offender’s physical or mental well-being.  In that case, the offender will receive 15 days of electronic home monitoring.
Fine: $350 - $5,000
License Suspension: 90 days

First Offense Where the BAC is .15 or Higher
Jail Time: 2 days to 1 year.  The mandatory minimum 48 hours may be suspended if the court determines that the sentence would pose a significant risk to the offender’s physical or mental well-being.  In that case, the offender will receive 30 days of electronic home monitoring.
Fine: $500 - $5,000
License Suspension: 1 year

First Offense Where BAC Test was Refused
Jail Time: 2 days to 1 year.  The mandatory minimum 48 hours may be suspended if the court determines that the sentence would pose a significant risk to the offender’s physical or mental well-being.  In that case, the offender will receive 30 days of electronic home monitoring.
Fine: $500 - $5,000
License Suspension: 2 years

Second Offense in Seven Years
Jail Time: 30 days to 1 year. 

Electronic Monitoring After Jail: 60 days
Fine: $500 - $5,000
License Suspension: 2 years
Vehicle is Subject to Seizure and Forfeiture

Second Offense in Seven Years Where BAC is .15 or Higher
Jail Time: 45 days to 1 year. 
Electronic Monitoring After Jail: 90 days
Fine: $750 - $5,000
License Suspension: 900 days
Vehicle is Subject to Seizure and Forfeiture

Second Offense in Seven Years Where BAC Test was Refused
Jail Time: 45 days to 1 year. 
Electronic Monitoring After Jail: 90 days
Fine: $750 - $5,000
License Suspension: 3 years
Vehicle is Subject to Seizure and Forfeiture

Third Offense
Jail Time: 90 days to 1 year. 
Electronic Monitoring After Jail: 120 days
Fine: $1,000 - $5,000
License Suspension: 3 years
Vehicle is Subject to Seizure and Forfeiture

Third Offense Where BAC is .15 or Higher
Jail Time: 120 days to 1 year. 
Electronic Monitoring After Jail: 150 days
Fine: $1,000 - $5,000
License Suspension: 4 years
Vehicle is Subject to Seizure and Forfeiture

Third Offense Where BAC Test was Refused
Jail Time: 120 days to 1 year. 
Electronic Monitoring After Jail: 150 days
Fine: $1,000 - $5,000
License Suspension: 4 years
Vehicle is Subject to Seizure and Forfeiture

 

EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2007

Fourth Offense
Jail Time: 90 days to 1 year. 
Electronic Monitoring After Jail: 120 days
Fine: $1,000 - $5,000
License Suspension: 3 years
Vehicle is Subject to Seizure and Forfeiture

Fourth Offense Where BAC is .15 or Higher
Jail Time: 120 days to 1 year. 
Electronic Monitoring After Jail: 150 days
Fine: $1,000 - $5,000
License Suspension: 4 years
Vehicle is Subject to Seizure and Forfeiture

Fourth Offense Where BAC Test was Refused
Jail Time: 120 days to 1 year. 
Electronic Monitoring After Jail: 150 days
Fine: $1,000 - $5,000
License Suspension: 4 years
Vehicle is Subject to Seizure and Forfeiture

Additional Fines and Penalties

  • Regardless of the penalty imposed, the court will require a $125 fine to be paid to the Washington state toxicology lab for research designed to increase conviction rates and decrease the number of drivers who are under the influence
  • Passenger in the Car under 16:  In addition to all other penalties, the court will attach an ignition interlock device to the vehicle for a period of at least 60 days
  • Victim Impact Programs:  The court may require anyone convicted of driving while intoxicated to attend a victim impact program

Vehicular Homicide – If your drunk driving results in the death of another person, you may be charged with a Class A Felony, which is punishable by a sentence of up to life in prison and $50,000. Additionally, a mandatory minimum of two years is added to any sentence under the DUI law.

Vehicular Assault – If your drunk driving results in substantial bodily harm to someone else, you may be charged with a Class B Felony, which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000.