A DUI charge in Washington can occur any time a driver is found to have a blood alcohol concentration meeting or exceeding .08 percent. In this case, it does not matter whether the motorist was driving erratically or if the individual’s ability to drive appeared to be impaired. Minors may not exceed a BAC of .02 percent.
As in other states, Washington DUI penalties can include hefty fines, a license suspension, time in jail and other penalties. The severity of the penalties depends on several factors, such as whether or not one has prior DUI convictions on record or whether another individual was severely injured or killed in an accident stemming from DUI. If convicted, a person will have a DUI on his or her record for 15 years and may additionally face license suspension or revocation, proof-of-insurance requirements, license reapplication requirements and fees, fines, and vehicle seizure or loss. With any conviction, an SR-22, or “safety responsibility,” form confirming that the convicted person has car insurance coverage will need to be filled out by the person’s insurance company and filed with the state DMV upon reinstatement of his or her license.
Penalties for a 1st DUI offense
First DUI offenses in Washington that occur with a BAC of under .15 percent may be accompanied by penalties such as a day in jail, electronic monitoring, a minimum 90-day license suspension, a fine of at least $865.50 and potentially the installation of an ignition interlock device. Various exceptions to these penalties include longer jail time for a BAC in excess of .15 percent or a death or injury resulting from the DUI event. A license suspension of two years is also possible with aggravated circumstances.
In some cases, the electronic monitoring can be substituted for jail time. A special exception occurs with license suspensions. If the driver contests the suspension within a 20 day period, it is possible to get it reversed if the court rules in his or her favor. However, if the conviction stands, the suspension resumes 45 days after notice of the conviction is received by the Department of Licensing. License suspension times start at 90 days and may last up to two years depending on the BAC of the person convicted.
Penalties for a 2nd DUI Offense
A second DUI conviction may result in Washington DUI penalties that include 30 to 45 days of jail time and a license suspension of up to one year. Other potential consequences include electronic monitoring for 60 to 90 days, vehicle confiscation and ignition interlock installation at the driver’s expense. Fines can be at least $1,210.50 and up to $5,000 depending on the circumstances of the case and the court’s decision.
Penalties for a 3rd DUI Offense
A third DUI offense is likely to result in jail time of 90 days up to a year and includes 120 days of monitoring with an electronic device. Further license suspension depends on the BAC at the time of the arrest, but can be up to four years. The driver will also be required to install an ignition interlock device at his or her own expense. Fines may range anywhere from $1,970.50 to $5,000.