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DUI Blog

Overview of Washington DUI Penalties

Posted by Kevin Trombold DUI Defense Attorney | Aug 25, 2015 | 0 Comments


In this blog, we've talked a lot about Washington's laws relating to driving under the influence (DUI). We've gone over aggravating factors that can increase the penalties you could face, the difference between criminal and administrative sanctions and processes, and even how hardship permits can lessen the difficulties of a license suspension.

In this post, we're going to provide a quick summary of the penalties that you could face, if you're convicted for a misdemeanor DUI in Washington state. Remember that a conviction for DUI can result in many other types of repercussions, above and beyond just fines, a license suspension, and potential jail time. Also keep in mind that circumstances surrounding your arrest for DUI can increase these penalties, and that there are other complexities that can alter the potential penalties that you could face, should you end up convicted. However, with all that said, here are the penalties that are usually on the table for a typical charge for DUI, according to Washington's DUI laws:

Prior DUI convictions


Jail Time

License Suspension

None in the past seven years

$865.50 - $5,000

1 – 365 days

90 days

One in the past seven years

$1,120.50 - $5,000

30 – 365 days

2 years

Two or three in the past seven years, but not four or more in the past ten years

$1,970.50 - $5,000

90 – 365 days

3 years

The first thing to look at is how many prior DUI convictions you have – this determines the fines, jail time, and license suspension period that you could face. Washington's DUI law, like many of its other laws, is structured so that people with prior offenses face stiffer penalties: This is meant to deter people from breaking the law more than once. Washington's DUI law, however, only counts prior offenses if they happened within a certain time frame. This time frame is called the “look back period.”

Washington's look back period is complex, when it comes to its DUI law, because it changes depending on how many prior convictions you have. If you have four or more DUI convictions on your driving record, then the look back period to determine criminal sanctions for a subsequent DUI charge is ten years. If this is the case, and you have four or more DUI offenses in the past ten years, then your DUI charge will be for a felony DUI, not a misdemeanor DUI. A felony DUI charge comes with yet stiffer penalties. We'll touch on these types of DUIs in more detail in a future blog post. If this is not the case, and you do not have four or more DUI offenses in the past ten years, then the look back period is only seven years. If you don't have any prior DUI convictions in the past seven years, then the criminal sanctions that you could face are found in the top row. If you have one DUI offense in the past seven years, look to the second row. Two or three in the past seven years? Check the bottom row.

Knowing what you'll have to deal with, if convicted, is important to know. If you need someone to defend you against DUI charges, call the law office of Kevin Trombold at 206-971-0067.

About the Author

Kevin Trombold DUI Defense Attorney

Highly rated by former clients, who praise his warm, knowledgeable courtside manner and his fierce determination to reduce or eliminate charges. An accomplished speaker, author, and leader in DUI defense statewide Kevin is well respected by judges, prosecutors, and other attorneys across the State of Washington for his expertise, integrity, and knowledge in the complicated forensic science area of impaired driving allegations.


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