In Washington, laws for driving under the influence (DUI) are enforced with a variety of penalties, including license suspension, fines, and even jail time. These penalties, however, can increase if your arrest for DUI included one of a handful of aggravating factors. These factors, if the prosecutor proves them during trial, or if you plead guilty to them before the trial, can make a DUI conviction significantly more painful to deal with.
Typically, a first-time DUI conviction in Washington comes with an assortment of penalties. You'll be facing a suspension on your driver's license of 90 days, as well as a fine of between $350 and $5,000, and at least a day of jail time. In addition to these penalties, you'll also have to complete any substance abuse classes that the court requires, and have to install an Ignition Interlock device in your car, and keep it for an entire year after your license suspension ends.
However, if there are aggravating factors present in your DUI arrest, these penalties can increase.
One aggravating factor that can increase the penalties for your DUI is having a BAC of at or above 0.15, well over the legal limit of 0.08. If your first DUI offense includes having a BAC this high, instead of facing a minimum jail time of one day, it'll be two days, and the minimum fine will rise from $350 to $500. Additionally, instead of a 90 day license suspension, it will be one year, instead. You'll also be facing these same penalty increases if you refuse to take a BAC test, except the license suspension will be for two years.
Another aggravating factor that can impact DUI sentencing is being arrested for drunk driving while there's a passenger in the car under 16 years old. If it's your first DUI offense, being arrested with a passenger under 16 increases the minimum jail time from one day, to two days, and also substantially increases the range of fines that you could face, from $1,000 to $5,000. It will also add another six months to the time you'll have to keep an Ignition Interlock device in your car, once you get your driver's license back.
Lastly, there are several factors that the court will take into account in choosing a penalty from between the minimum and the maximum punishments allowed. These factors include whether there were other passengers, of any age, in the car at the time of the arrest, whether there was an accident that led to the DUI arrest, and whether there were any injuries or any property damage, and whether you were caught driving on the wrong side of the roadway. While any of these additional factors won't affect the minimum penalties that you could face, they will likely result in receiving a punishment that's closer to the maximum allowed.
When there are any aggravating factors involved in a DUI charge, you need an experienced DUI attorney to fight for you in court. Call the law office of Kevin Trombold at 206-971-0067.