Washington State DUI Penalties (With Chart)

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Under Washington DUI laws, a driver is deemed to have committed the offense of driving under the influence (DUI) if they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher and are operating a motor vehicle, according to the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) Section 46.61.502. An individual is also deemed to have committed a drunk driving offense if they have a BAC of 0.08 percent or above, actual physical control of a vehicle, and the vehicle is deemed operable.

The criminal penalties for DUI include a period of incarceration or electronic home monitoring (EHM), a fine and a period of driver’s license suspension or revocation. They also include the requirement to install an ignition interlock device (IID) after the driver’s license suspension or revocation period expires, possible alcohol or drug education, and possible mandated attendance at a DUI victim impact panel.

Penalties for Washington State DUIs

1st DUI with BAC under 0.15 percent

2nd DUI with BAC under 0.15 percent

3rd DUI with BAC under 0.15 percent

Incarceration Period

Between one day and one year

Between 30 days and one year

Between 90 days and one year

Fine

Between $350 and $5,000

Between $500 and $5,000

Between $1,000 and $5,000

IID Installation

Minimum of one year

Minimum of five years

Minimum of 10 years

Driver's License

90-day suspension

Two-year revocation

Three-year revocation

Probation

Five years

Five years

Five years

Revised Code of Washington: RCW 46.61.5055 Alcohol and Drug Violators – Penalty Schedule (https://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=46.61.5055), Washington State Department of Licensing, Ignition Interlock Device (https://www.dol.wa.gov/driverslicense/ignitioninterlock.html)

First Offense DUI in Washington State

According to RCW 46.61.5055, if the driver’s BAC was under 0.15 percent, a first-time Washington state DUI carries a penalty of between one day and one year in jail and a fine between $350 and $5,000. Additional penalties include a driver’s license suspension of 90 days, fees, the required installation of an IID after the driver’s license suspension period, possible alcohol or drug education, and a possible mandated requirement to attend a DUI victim impact panel.

The one-day (24 consecutive hours) incarceration period is a mandatory minimum; it is nonsuspendable. As an alternative to jail time, an individual can agree to electronic home monitoring (EHM). The EHM must not be for less than 15 days for a first DUI.

If the driver’s BAC was 0.15 percent or above or the driver refused a breath test, the penalties increase to between two days (30 days EHM) and one year in jail and a fine of between $500 and $5,000 in addition to the other penalties for a first DUI. If the driver’s BAC level was 0.15 percent or above, they may suffer a driver’s license revocation of up to one year. If the driver refused a breath test, they may suffer a driver’s license revocation of up to two years.

Second Offense DUI in Washington State

If the driver’s BAC was under 0.15 percent, the penalties for a second Washington state DUI within seven years include between 30 days (60 days EHM) and one year in jail, a fine of between $500 and $5,000, fees, a two-year driver’s license revocation, mandatory installation of an IID, a possible requirement to undergo alcohol or drug education and a possible requirement to attend a DUI victim impact panel. The 30-day incarceration period is nonsuspendable.

If the driver’s BAC was 0.15 percent or above or the driver refused a breath test, the penalties increase to between 45 days (90 days EHM) and one year in jail, and a fine of between $750 and $5,000 in addition to the other penalties for a second DUI. If the driver’s BAC was 0.15 percent or above, they may suffer a driver’s license revocation of up to 900 days. If the driver refused a breath test, they may suffer a driver’s license revocation of up to three years.

Third Offense DUI in Washington State

If a driver’s BAC was under 0.15 percent, the penalties for a third Washington state DUI within 10 years of the first two include between 90 days (120 days EHM) and one year in jail, a fine between $1,000 and $5,000, fees, a three-year driver’s license revocation, mandatory installation of an IID, a possible requirement to undergo alcohol or drug education and a possible requirement to attend a DUI victim impact panel. The 90-day incarceration period is nonsuspendable.

If the driver’s BAC was 0.15 percent or above or if the driver refused a breath test, the penalties increase to between 120 days (150 days EHM) and one year in jail, and a fine between $1,500 and $5,000 in addition to the other penalties for a third DUI. If the driver’s BAC was 0.15 percent or higher, they may suffer a driver’s license revocation of up to four years. If the driver refused a breath test, they may suffer a driver’s license revocation of up to four years.

Look-back Period and Out-of-State DUI Charges

Washington state considers a subsequent DUI conviction within seven years of a prior DUI conviction to be a second or third offense. Washington state considers a subsequent DUI conviction within 10 years of three prior offenses to be a fourth offense. Washington state will determine whether a conviction for an out-of-state DUI counts as a prior DUI by reviewing the elements of the other state’s DUI statute.

Alcohol Assessment and Treatment Programs

A driver convicted of a Washington state DUI is required to get an alcohol or drug assessment and a treatment report from an agency certified by the state, according to the state’s Department of Licensing. The report indicates whether the individual has substance abuse or dependence concerns. If the individual does not have such concerns, they must take a one-day class from a state certified agency. If they do have concerns, they must undergo substance abuse treatment.

They must inform the court of their progress in treatment and whether they have been compliant with their counselor’s recommendations. The individual’s certified counselor submits an electronic form to the court.

Chemical Test Refusal in the State of Washington

A driver in Washington state gives implied consent to a breath test or other tests to determine whether they are under the influence of alcohol or any drug, according to RCW 46.20.308. This is true when a law enforcement officer has reasonable grounds to believe the person driving, or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle, was under the influence of alcohol or any drug.

Before administering a breath or chemical test, an officer is required to inform the person of their right to refuse the breath test and to have additional tests administered by a qualified person of their choosing. If the driver refuses to take the test, the refusal may be used against them in a DUI criminal trial.

Washington State Law for Underage DUI Drivers

A driver under the age of 21 can be charged with an underage DUI if they have a BAC level of 0.02 percent or above, according to the Department of Licensing. A driver under 21 with a BAC between 0.02 percent and 0.07 percent will be charged with a misdemeanor, according to RCW 46.61.503. The penalty for a misdemeanor includes a maximum sentence of up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine, according to RCW 9A.20.021. A driver under 21 with a BAC of 0.08 percent or above will be charged with a standard DUI.

Washington State Habitual Traffic Offender Status

A habitual traffic offender (HTO) is a person with three or more convictions for DUIs or other specified offenses, according to RCW 46.65.020. A HTO may not have a driver’s license issued to them for a period of seven years from the date of the license revocation, according to RCW 46.65.070. At the end of four years, a HTO may petition the Department of Licensing for the return of their driver’s license. The department of licensing may wholly or conditionally reinstate the individual’s driving privileges, according to RCW 46.65.080.

At the end of seven years from the date of any final order finding a person to be a HTO, the person may petition the Department of Licensing for restoration of their driving privileges, according to RCW 46.65.100. If the Department of Licensing finds good cause is shown, it may restore the person’s driving privilege subject to such terms and conditions that the department may prescribe.