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Washington DUI Penalties and Seattle DUI Penalties

Washington DUI Penalties

A large part of Kevin's practice is dedicated to defending people charged with Driving Under the Influence. Many people are shocked to learn how harsh the criminal and civil penalties for a DUI conviction are. But as you read on, remember you can avoid many of these penalties if your attorney is successful in your defense.

With the decision by the state in 1999 to lower the legal driving limit to .08, Washington's DUI criminal penalties are today among the stiffest in the nation. Over 30,000 people are charged with DUI in Washington every year. Those convicted face mandatory jail penalties of up to four months, mandatory license suspensions of up to four years, and the costly installation of vehicle ignition interlock devices in their cars. Additionally, a judge is likely to require an alcohol evaluation and treatment, participation in DUI victims' panel and high-risk insurance. DUI convictions are permanent and can never be “vacated” from one's record like most crimes. These penalties can result not only in the loss of liberty, but also interfere with your ability to work and live up to family responsibilities. With so much at stake, it's essential that you be defended vigorously against this charge.

This information is designed only to provide general legal information about the criminal process. This information is not legal advice addressing a client's specific legal concerns. We need to speak with you to provide that. Please call us or a reputable DUI criminal defense attorney.

Criminal Penalties For Washington DUI Case

Potential criminal penalties include mandatory jail, fines, license suspension for at least ninety days, ignition interlock on your car, an alcohol evaluation and treatment, and attendance of a DUI victims panel and high risk insurance.

Please use the chart below to see what the mandatory penalties are in your case, which vary in severity depending on your prior driving record. But remember that the prosecutor and the Department of Licensing have to prove numerous things before any of these penalties apply.

District or Municipal DUI Court Dispositions and Penalties
(within 7 years means that arrest for prior offense occurred within 7 years of arrest for current charges)

DUI – 1ST CONVICTION IN 7 YEARS
Offense Penalty License Action
BAC < .15 or No BAC Jail: 1-364 days (or 15 days EHM allowed)
Fine: $866-$5000
Interlock: Required
90 day suspension
BAC ≥ .15 or refusal Jail: 2-364 days (or 30 days EHM allowed)
Fine: $1121-$5000
Interlock: Required
1 year revocation for BAC over .15
2 year revocation for refusal
DUI – 2ND CONVICTION IN 7 YEARS
Offense Penalty License Action
BAC < .15 Jail: 30-364 days & 60 days EHM
Fine: $1121-$5000
Interlock: 1 year minimum
2 year license revocation
BAC ≥ .15 or refusal Jail: 45-364 days & 90 days EHM
Fine: $1546-$5000
Interlock: 1 year minimum
2.5 year revocation for BAC over .15
3 year revocation for refusal
DUI – 3RD CONVICTION IN 7 YEARS
Offense Penalty License Action
BAC < .15 Jail: 90-364 days & 120 days EHM
Fine: $1971-$5000
Interlock: 1 year minimum
3 year license revocation
BAC > .15 or refusal Jail: 120-364 days & 150 days EHM
Fine: $2821-$5000
Interlock: 1 year minimum
4 year license revocation
RECKLESS DRIVING
Offense Penalty License Action
Reckless Driving Jail: 0-364 days
Fine: $0-$5000

30 day license suspension (IID on 2nd offense)

NEGLIGENT DRIVING 1ST DEGREE
Offense Penalty License Action
Neg 1 Jail: 0-90 days
Fine: $0-$1000
None (IID on 2nd Offense)
MINOR DUI—BAC ≥ .02
Offense Penalty License Action
Minor DUI Jail: 0-90 days
Fine: $0-$1000
None
DEFERRED PROSECUTION REQUIREMENT:

Based on alcohol, drugs or mental health

Deferred Prosecution Jail: 0 days
Fine: 0
Interlock: 1 year minimum
Probation costs: $25-$50/month
None
HOW IT WORKS:

2 year treatment program, case dismissed after 5 years.

REQUIREMENTS FOR GETTING LICENSE BACK

Court Suspensions and Revocations

License Suspended License Revoked
SR-22 insurance for 3 years
$150 re-issue fee
Alcohol evaluation & follow-up treatment
Minimum alcohol information school
SR-22 insurance for 3 years
$150 re-issue fee
Pass Driver's Ability Test
Alcohol Evaluation & follow-up treatment
Minimum alcohol information school

Civil Penalties

Civil penalties imposed by the state Department of Licensing include license suspension or revocation and a requirement for SR 22 high-risk insurance.

CIVIL DUI PENALTIES

Department of Licensing Administrative Sanctions

Offense First Offense License Action Second Offense License Action
BAC ≥ .08 90 day suspension (Occupational License OK
after 30 days)
2 year license revocation
Refusal 1st in 7 years & no prior admin.
action in 7 years:
1 year license revocation
≥ 2nd in 7 years or 1st & at least 1 admin.
action in 7 years:
2 year license revocation (or until 21,
whichever longer)
Minor BAC ≥ .02 1st in 7 years:
90 day suspension
≥ 2nd in 7 years:
1 year license revocation

REQUIREMENTS FOR GETTING LICENSE BACK

Court Suspensions and Revocations

License Suspended License Revoked
SR-22 insurance for 3 years
$150 re-issue fee
SR-22 insurance for 3 years
$150 re-issue fee
Pass Driver's Ability Test

High Risk Insurance (SR-22)

If the Department of Licensing suspends your license, you will be required to carry SR-22 high-risk insurance for the three years after your license is reinstated. Clients are often worried about how much their rates will go up, and the answer depends on your driving record. It is important to shop around to find the best rate.

Pulled Over: Do's & Don'ts

No one plans to get pulled over for driving under the influence, so don't feel that you made a terrible mistake if you didn't follow the guidelines below. But for future reference, here are the rules of the road.

When you are pulled over:

DO:
  • Do give the officer your papers—driver's license, registration, and proof of insurance
  • Do blow into a breath-test machine BUT ONLY AT THE STATION
  • Do give blood at the hospital if your DUI involves an accident or suspected drug use
DON'T:
  • Don't say anything. As you have heard so often on TV, you have the right to remain silent. Be polite but decline comments.
  • Don't perform any Field Sobriety Tests. You are not legally required to take these voluntary tests and even a sober person can fail them.
  • Don't blow in the portable breath machine which officers keep with them in their squad cars. This machine is prone to serious errors. Simply tell the officer you are only willing to take the test on the larger machine at the station.

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While my traffic case was minor, I didn't want to go it alone. My friend recommended Kevin to me. From the first phone conversation til it was resolved, Kevin and his team were pure perfection! This is the team you want on your side. Period. - K.M.