July 16, 2019

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Washington DUI

Seattle Law Firms

In Washington State, DUI includes driving under the influence of alcohol, recreational drugs, prescription medications, and over-the-counter (OTC) medications. A DUI arrest results in an automatic suspension of your driver’s license, unless you request a hearing within 20 days, and convince the Department of Licensing (DOL) that you should be allowed to keep your license. This suspension can remain in effect even if your charges are dropped or dismissed.

Automatic License Suspension

You only have 20 days to request a hearing to prevent the automatic suspension of your driver’s license. You must pay $375 just to request the hearing, unless you can prove that you are indigent or below the poverty threshold for Washington State. If you fail to request a hearing or if you lose at the hearing, your driver’s license can be suspended for 90 days to two years as follows:

  • First offense in seven years, with BAC .08 or higher – 90 days
  • First offense in seven years, refusal to take breath or blood test – one year
  • Second offense – two years

The suspension begins 60 days from the date of your arrest. Remember, this is an administrative action, independent of your criminal case. Winning your criminal case does not reverse the administrative suspension.

Criminal Penalties

Penalties for DUI first offense with a BAC under .15 include:

  • Jail time – one day to 364 days
  • Fine – $350 to $5,000; statutory assessments will raise the actual fine to at least $941
  • Driver’s license suspension – 90 days
  • Ignition interlock – one year
  • SR22 insurance
  • Alcohol/drug education and/or treatment if ordered

Penalties for a first offense with a BAC of .15 or over include:

  • Jail time – two days to 364 days
  • Fine $500 to $5,000; statutory assessments raise the actual fine to at least $1,196
  • Driver’s license suspension – one year, or two years if breath test was refused
  • Ignition interlock – one year
  • SR22 insurance
  • Alcohol/drug education and/or treatment if ordered

It may be possible to have your fine suspended or deferred if you are indigent. The mandatory minimum jail sentence can be replaced by 15 days of electronic home monitoring for each day of jail time, at your expense.

An ignition interlock device (IIL) is a breath test machine which is installed in your vehicle, at your expense. Using an ILL allows you to drive during your license suspension. You will get credit for any time that you have already spent on administrative license suspension, so that your criminal suspension does not add more time to the overall suspension.