DUI Penalties in Washington State

Washington State has the “Toughest DUI laws in the Nation”. Being arrested for DUI can profoundly change the course of your life for the worse.

” If your breath test result is .08 or higher or if you refused to take test, the arresting officer will report you to the Department of Licensing (DOL). The DOL will then suspend your license for at least 90 days if you took the test or revoke it for at least one year if you refused the test.”

For first time offenders the maximum sentence is a year in jail and a fine of $5,000. The minimum sentence for first time offenders on the other hand, if the breathe test reads less than .15%, they would receive one day in jail, a fine, probation, and license suspension.
But if the test was over .15% (or the test was refused) the offender would have to do two days in jail, have a higher fine, and longer license suspension.

If there were passengers in the vehicle the judge would have to weigh that in mind upon sentencing, and he may increase sentencing.
The judge can also require the offender to be served in their home by imposing electronic home detention, which the offender will have to pay for, and is not cheap. Five years of probation with a monthly “Monitoring Fee” also could be applied.

If this is not their first DUI, the penalties will dramatically heighten. For a second conviction within seven years where the breathe test is under .15% the minimum sentence is thirty days in jail followed by sixty days electronic home detention.
But if the breathe test was .15% or higher the offender will receive 45 days in jail, followed by ninety days electronic home detention, and that is the minimum.

For repeat offenders the fines could easily add up to over $8,125.00. In every case the court is required to keep a permanent record of their convictions, the Department Of Licensing must also keep a record of their convictions for 15 years.

If the offenders breathe test comes back at less than .15% an additional license suspension from the DOL is 90 days, if the breathe test is more than .15% or the test was refused the DOL has to suspend the offenders license for a minimum of one year. Subsequent convictions make for longer suspensions if the test came back .15% or under, on their second conviction within seven years the offender’s license is suspended for a minimum of two years. If the test came back .15% or higher, (or if refused to take it) the offender will suffer with a 900 day license suspension.

Offenders are required to appear in court within one day of their arrest if they were served with a citation or complaint.
If the offender was NOT issued a citation they have fourteen days of the date of arrest to appear in court.
If the offender misses their day in court, a warrant will be issued for their arrest.

At their mandatory ‘First Appearance’ the courts will consider your bail, attendance at an alcohol treatment and AA meetings, and even whether to require the offender to install and ‘Ignition Interlock Device’ in their car. After setting the conditions for the offender’s pretrial release, the judge will also ask whether they enter a plea of “Guilty” or “Not Guilty” to the charges against them, and whether the offender’s require a trial by judge or jury. It is definitely a wise decision to be represented by an experienced DUI defense attorney at the offender’s first hearing.

An “Ignition interlock is a breath testing machine that is connected to the wiring in your car and which prevents your car from starting if you have alcohol on your breath.” The judge can order the offender to have this system for up to five years even on their first DUI offense, and in some circumstances the DOL can require the offender to have it for up to ten years. Even if the judge may not require the offender to have an Interlock system, the DOL can require it on their own anyway. Some Interlocks are programmed to only let the offender drive certain hours of the day. If the offender fails the test while driving the lights will flash and the horn will blow. Interlock systems cost the offenders approximately $60.00 a month not including installation fees.

Check out this web site for the Washington State DUI Penalties…

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