DUI/DWI

  • What is a DUI?

    Driving under the influence (DUI) refers to what is commonly known as drinking and driving. There are essentially two main DUI crimes in Washington, driving while under the influence of alcohol and/or a drug (RCW 46.61.502) and being in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence (RCW 46.61.504). While these are separate crimes, the consequences are the same. See more on physical control, below.

  • When may a driver be charged with DUI?

    There are three different ways to commit DUI:
    (1) By having an breath or blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or a blood THC concentration of 5.00 or higher within 2 hours after driving,
    (2) By being under the influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor or any drug, or
    (3) By being under the combined influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor and any drug.

  • My breath or blood concentration was under 0.08 (alcohol) or 5.00 (THC), why am I being charged?

    The state is prosecuting you under the “affected-by-prong” of the DUI statute. That’s when a person is found to be driving a vehicle under the influence or affected by alcohol, any drug, or a combination of alcohol and drugs, regardless of the concentration of alcohol in their breath or blood.

  • What does breath or blood concentration mean?

    When you were arrested for DUI, you either blew into a Breathalyzer or had your blood drawn (unless you refused). These are both capable of determining your alcohol concentration, but only a blood test can determine THC concentration.

  • Are there other alcohol concentrations I should know about?

    DUI can be charged at .04 or higher for commercial vehicle drivers (CDL suspensions) or .02 or higher for minors (under 21).

  • Can my license be suspended or revoked?

    Yes. Your license can be suspended or revoked if you’re arrested for DUI or if you’re convicted of DUI in court.

  • I received a notice that the DOL is suspending my license. Now what?

    If when you are arrested your BAC was above 0.08 or 5.00 you will get notice that your license will be administratively suspended. You have 20 days from the date you were arrested to request an appeal of the decision to suspend your license. We always recommend requesting the hearing. A hearing will be set with a hearing examiner. This hearing is typically held over the phone.

  • Is there a way I can still drive if I lose the DOL hearing or I don’t request one?

    Yes, by getting a restricted license during your suspension. While your driver license is suspended or revoked, you may get an Ignition Interlock Driver License (IIL) that will allow you to drive a vehicle equipped with an ignition interlock device (IID) for the period of your suspension or revocation.

  • I’m licensed in a state other than Washington. What happens if I’m cited for DUI in Washington State?

    When the DOL is notified of your DUI, the DOL records it on your Washington State driving record, suspends or revokes your driving privilege in Washington State, and forwards a copy of the notice to the state where you’re licensed. The state in which you are licensed may also take action if required by its state laws.

  • If the court reduces the charge from DUI to Reckless Driving, Negligent Driving, or some other reduced charge, will my driving record show the reduced charge?

    Yes, but the reduced charge doesn’t affect the suspension period resulting from your arrest. Any license suspension, revocation, or disqualification won’t be reduced or changed even if a court reduces the criminal charge.

  • What are the mandatory minimum penalties for a DUI conviction?

    It depends on (1) your number of prior alcohol offenses (DUI, Vehicular Assault, Vehicular Homicide, a charge reduced from DUI to Reckless Driving, Negligent Driving, or some other reduced charge, etc.) within seven years and (2) the your blood alcohol concentration.

    No prior offenses/Alcohol concentration less than 0.15
    Minimum imprisonment: 24 hours (15 days electronic home monitoring may be substituted). Additional 24 hours if defendant had passenger under age of 16.
    Minimum fine: $350 ($1,000 if defendant had passenger under the age of 16).
    License suspension: 90 days.

    No prior offenses/Alcohol concentration at least 0.15
    Minimum imprisonment: 2 days (30 days electronic home monitoring may be substituted). Additional 24 hours if defendant had passenger under age of 16.
    Minimum fine: $500 ($1,000 if defendant had passenger under the age of 16).
    License revocation: 1 year (if defendant refused alcohol test, license revocation period is 2 years).

    One prior offense/Alcohol concentration less than 0.15
    Minimum imprisonment: 30 days. Additional 5 days if defendant had passenger under age of 16.
    Minimum period of electronic home monitoring: 60 days (or additional four days jail) or 6 months of 24/7 sobriety monitoring.
    Minimum fine: $500 ($1,000 if defendant had passenger under the age of 16).
    License revocation: 2 years.

    One prior offense/Alcohol concentration at least 0.15
    Minimum imprisonment: 45 days. Additional 5 days if defendant had passenger under age of 16.
    Minimum period of electronic home monitoring: 90 days (or additional 6 days jail) or 6 months of 24/7 sobriety monitoring.
    Minimum fine: $750 ($1,000 if defendant had passenger under the age of 16).
    License revocation: 900 days (if defendant refused alcohol test, license revocation period is 3 years).

    Two or more prior offenses/Alcohol concentration less than 0.15
    Minimum imprisonment: 90 days. Additional 10 days if defendant had passenger under age of 16.
    Minimum period of electronic home monitoring: 120 days (or additional eight days jail) plus 6 months of 24/7 sobriety monitoring.
    Minimum fine: $1000 ($3,000 if defendant had passenger under the age of 16).
    License revocation: 3 years.

    Two or more prior offenses/Alcohol concentration at least 0.15
    Minimum imprisonment: 120 days. Additional 10 days if defendant had passenger under age of 16.
    Minimum period of electronic home monitoring: 150 days (or additional 10 days jail) plus 6 months of 24/7 sobriety monitoring.
    Minimum fine: $1500 ($3,000 if defendant had passenger under the age of 16).
    License revocation: 4 years.
    Minimum interlock period: 1 year after period of revocation (5 years if defendant has previously been subject to interlock requirement).