DUI Laws in Washington

Laws and penalties for DUI in Washington.

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In Washington, you can get a DUI if you drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher, regardless of whether your driving ability was actually impaired. And the law in Washington says that if you are driving a vehicle, you have given consent to submit to a chemical test for the purpose of determining the amount of alcohol in your blood. Here are some details on the consequences of refusing to take a chemical test in Washington and other details about Washington DUI law.

In Washington, what are the consequences of refusing to take a chemical test (usually a breathalyzer or blood test) when suspected of DUI?

Here are the consequences for not taking a breathalyzer or blood test in Washington, broken out by whether this is your first, second, or third offense:

1st offense

2nd offense

3rd offense

1 year license suspension

1 year license suspension

1 year license suspension

In Washington, when do police have to measure your blood alcohol content (BAC)?

In Washington, law enforcement officers are supposed to measure your BAC within 2 hours of driving. However, prosecutors may be able to prove your culpability for DUI even if your BAC is taken later than this time.

What is the maximum BAC for drivers under 21 in Washington?

In Washington, the maximum blood alcohol content (BAC) for drivers who are under 21 (considered minors under some drinking and driving laws) is .02%.

What are the minimum jail times for a DUI in Washington?

Here are the minimum jail times for a DUI in Washington, broken out by whether this is your first, second, or third offense:

1st offense

2nd offense

3rd offense

1 day jail (if BAC is less than .15%); 2 days jail (if BAC is .15% or greater)

30 days jail (if BAC is less than .15%); 45 days jail (if BAC is .15% or greater)

90 days jail (if BAC is less than .15%); 120 days jail (if BAC is .15% or greater)

How long will prior DUI convictions remain relevant for sentencing purposes in Washington?

In Washington, prior DUI convictions stay on your record (and can be counted against you when you are being sentenced for another DUI/DWI offense) for 7 years.

Can a DUI be “pleaded down” to a "wet reckless" in Washington?

A defendant might receive a "wet reckless," or a conviction of reckless driving involving alcohol, as a result of a plea bargain in which a charge of drunk driving is reduced to a case of reckless driving. There is no statutory provision on whether a wet reckless plea bargain will be accepted in your state, but it's possible a lawyer may be able to create a plea bargain for you.

If you are interested in contacting a lawyer, you can find a DUI lawyer in your area in Nolo's Lawyer Directory.

Are ignition interlock devices (IIDs) required for convicted DUI offenders in Washington?

It's within the court's discretion to order use of an interlock device.

Where can I get more information about DUI laws in Washington?

Nolo's DUI/DWI topic has many helpful articles, including a Drunk Driving, DUI, and DWI FAQ. For more help after a DUI arrest, see Nolo's Lawyer Directory, where you can view in-depth profiles of Washington DUI attorneys in your area.

Last updated on 09/01/2010.

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