Washington State DUI Laws

Drunk Driving Defense Attorney Serving the Seattle Area

Washington takes drunk driving very seriously. A DUI conviction carries with it harsh penalties, particularly if you have prior offenses. At Blair & Kim, Seattle DUI lawyer Mark Blair can develop aggressive strategies to fight these charges. For example, in some first offense cases, it may be possible to petition the court for a deferred prosecution. Although there are strict requirements and five years of probation, if you comply with the requirements, the charges against you are dismissed after the probation period. In other cases, there may be constitutional or other procedural violations in connection with your stop, your arrest, your breath or sobriety test, or how you were questioned. We can evaluate the particular circumstances of your DUI charge and try to determine an appropriate strategy.

DUI Laws in Washington State

Driving under the influence (DUI) occurs when someone operates a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs. You can be charged with a DUI if a breath or blood test reveals that your blood alcohol concentration is .08 or higher. If you are a minor, you can be charged for a blood alcohol concentration of .02. However, you can also be charged if you are found to be driving under the influence of any combination of alcohol and drugs, irrespective of the alcohol concentration.

Generally, a DUI is charged as a gross misdemeanor. The court is required to impose certain mandatory minimum penalties, which are determined by the number of prior DUIs or charges over the past seven years for vehicular assault during a DUI, vehicular homicide committed during a DUI, or a charge of physical control under RCW 46.61.504.

If you have a breath test that shows under .15 blood alcohol concentration and no prior DUI-related convictions, the court at a minimum must sentence you to 24 consecutive hours in jail, a fine, and fees of $941.00. It must also order that your driver's license be suspended for 90 days, require you to attend a drug and alcohol evaluation and comply with recommendations for treatment, require you to go to a DUI victim impact panel, and put you on probation for at least 2-5 years. Once your license is reinstated, you will need to install an ignition interlock device for several months. The maximum punishment for a first offense is one year in jail and $5,000 in fines.

With just one prior DUI-related offense and a breath test of less than .15, you will be sentenced to fines of $1,196 and 30 days in jail, after which you will be subject to 60 days of Electronic Home Monitoring. You will need to pay for the monitoring. Your license will be revoked for two years, and you will have to go through a drug and alcohol evaluation and comply with treatment recommendations. You will be on probation at your own expense for five years.

In some cases, prosecution is deferred so that a defendant can complete a program. However, this deferred prosecution counts as a prior offense. Of particular consideration to a sentencing court is whether the drunk driving led to an injury to another person or property damage, and whether there were passengers in the car at the time.

A special penalty is applied if your case involved evidence that there was a passenger under the age of 16 in the car while you were drunk driving. At a minimum, the court must fine you $1,000 for a first offense, and you will have to use an ignition interlock device for six months more than otherwise mandated.

Consult an Experienced DUI Attorney in Seattle

If you are charged with drunk driving, Seattle DUI lawyer Mark Blair may be able to assist you in reaching a favorable plea deal with the prosecutor or limiting the scope of your sentence. He can represent people throughout Kings County, including in Redmond, Kirkland, and Bellevue. Call us at (206) 622-6562 or use our online form to set up a free consultation with a criminal defense attorney.