Washington DUI Laws and Penalties

How the State of Washington defines “driving under the influence” (DUI) and the consequences of a conviction.

In Washington, a motorist can get a DUI for driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle:

A driver with a BAC of .08% or more or with a THC concentration of 5ng or more can be convicted without proof of actual impairment. A DUI based on alcohol or drug concentration is referred to as a “per se DUI.”

Jail Time and Fines for Washington DUI Convictions

The minimum and maximum jail time and fines you’ll face for a DUI conviction in Washington largely depend on how many prior convictions you have that occurred within the past seven years.

1st Offense

2nd Offense

3rd Offense

Jail Time

1 to 364 days

30 to 364

90 to 364 days

Fines

$350 to $5,000

$500 to $5,000

$1,000 to $5,000

All violators must submit to a drug and alcohol evaluation and complete the recommended treatments and educational classes. The court can also order attendance at a victim’s impact panel.

Aggravated DUIs. DUI offenders who had a BAC of .15% or more or unlawfully refused a chemical test (see the explanation of implied consent laws below) can be convicted of an “aggravated DUI” and subject to increased penalties. For an aggravated DUI conviction, the minimum jail time will generally be doubled and the fine range increased.

Child passengers. Transporting a child under the age of 16 years old while under the influence will also enhance the penalties for a DUI conviction. Depending on the number of prior offenses, the offender could face up to an extra ten days of jail and an additional $5,000 in fines.

Jail alternatives. Offenders may be able to serve some or all of the ordered jail time under house arrest or a “24/7 sobriety program.” House arrest is just where offenders serve time confined to their own home rather than in jail—though it’s typically not a day-for-day trade-off. The sobriety program has a number of rules and requirements offenders must abide by (including travel restrictions and having to use an alcohol ankle monitor) but allows participants to avoid jail time. For example, a first-time offender can avoid jail by serving 15 days of house arrest or 90 days of the 24/7 sobriety program. Repeat offenders are required to serve a few days in jail before release to a jail alternative.

Forfeiture. Upon arrest for a DUI, the officer is authorized to have the violator’s vehicle towed and impounded. Repeat DUI violators may also face vehicle forfeiture.

License Revocation for a Washington DUI

Upon notification of a DUI conviction, the Washington Department of Licensing will suspend the driver’s license. The periods of time for revocations and suspension are listed below.

1st offense

2nd offense

3rd offense

Suspension Period

90 days

2 years

3 years revoked

Suspension period if BAC is .15% or more

1 year

900 days

4 years revoked

Suspension period if in 24/7 sobriety program

2 days

1 year

N/A

A license reinstated after a DUI suspension will be subject to a five-year probationary period.

Ignition interlock devices. All drivers must install an ignition interlock device (IID) during probation. However, in some cases, the use of an IID allows the offender restricted driving privileges during the suspension period.

Washington’ Implied Consent Laws

Washington’s “implied consent” laws specify that all motorists agree to take a breath test if lawfully arrested for driving under the influence. In addition to any DUI penalties, a driver who refuses testing will have his or her license revoked for two years for a first offense, three years for a second offense, and four years for a third offense. Prior offenses include both DUI convictions and test refusals.

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