September 16, 2019

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Washington Alcohol Laws

The law regarding when you can and cannot purchase and sell beer, wine and liquor in Washington is the most cut and dry law in all fifty states. In Washington, you can sell and purchase beer, wine and liquor in grocery and liquor stores from 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. seven days a week. Bars in Washington close their doors at 2:00 a.m.

One unique aspect of Washington alcohol law is that 18 to 20-year-olds may drink alcohol for educational purposes if enrolled in community college or culinary school and tasting is part of the curriculum. However, people of this age may not consume alcohol in bars or restaurants even when accompanied by an adult.

Dram Shop Law in Washington

Dram shop law in Washington states that bar owners, servers, bartenders, etc. cannot serve alcohol to people under the age of 21, but it also states that a dram shop claim could also be brought against an alcohol vender who sold alcohol to an adult who was “apparently under the influence” or “obviously intoxicated” at the time the alcohol was served and then caused an injury due to the intoxication. Keep in mind that dram shop law in Washington allows for people to bring a civil claim for injuries or deaths resulting in an “over-served” bar patron.

Social Host Liability in Washington

Social host liability claims in Washington differ from dram shop claims in two ways. First, a social host liability claim always involves a private social host, not a licensed alcohol vendor. Second, a social host liability claim may only be filed if the injury was caused by an intoxicated minor under age 21; if the host served alcohol to someone 21 or older who caused an injury after drinking alcohol, the host cannot be held liable, in most cases.

DUI in Washington

DUI law in Washington State assesses penalties based on the driver’s blood alcohol concentration at the time of arrest. If your BAC is less than 0.15%, certain penalties will be assigned, and if your BAC is measured at 0.15% or higher, more severe penalties will be assessed.

First offense DUI in Washington with a BAC of less than 0.15% may result in:

  • 24 hours to 364 days in jail or home confinement
  • Fines from $823 to $5000
  • Driver’s license suspension of 90 days
  • Ignition Interlock Device
  • Alcohol and drug assessment
  • Probation

First offense DUI in Washington with a BAC of 0.15% or higher may result in:

  • 48 hours to 364 days in jail or home confinement
  • Fines of $1,015 to $5000
  • Driver’s license suspension up to 2 years
  • Ignition Interlock Device
  • Alcohol drug assessment
  • Probation

If you are arrested and charged with a DUI or other alcohol-related offense, please contact a Washington criminal defense attorney right away.

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