Washington DUI Laws, Fines and Penalties

Learn about the penalties for a DUI conviction in Washington.

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What are the penalties for a DUI in Washington?


1st Offense

2nd Offense

3rd Offense

Jail

24 hours to 1 year

30 days to 1 year

90 days to 1 year

Fines and Penalties

$865.50 to $5,000

$1,120.50 to $5,000

1,970.50 to $5,000

License Suspension

90 days to 1 year

2 years to 900
days

3 to 4 years

IID** Required

Yes

Yes

Yes

Lookback Period: 7 years (Period of time that prior DUIs are relevant for sentencing. Also known as a “washout” period.)

**Ignition Interlock Device

How much do you have to drink (BAC*) for a DUI in Washington?

Under 21

.02%

21 or older

.08%

Commercial

.04%

** BAC = blood alcohol content

How many drinks does it take? Check the BAC chart.

You may want to try our BAC Calculator, however I wouldn't let any results encourage you to drink and drive.

What if you refuse to take a chemical test in Washington?

Washington has an implied consent law. That means that if you refuse to submit to a chemical test you will be subject to a fine and automatic license suspension. Learn more about Washington’s implied consent law.

 

1st Offense

2d Offense

3rd Offense

Refusal to take test

1 year license suspension

2 year license suspension

3 year license suspension

Disclaimer: We try to keep the information provided here up to date. However, laws often change, as do their interpretation and application. Different jurisdictions within a state may enforce the laws in different ways. For that reason, we recommended that you seek the advice of a local attorney familiar with DUI cases in your area.

Can you plead to a lesser offense than DUI in Washington?

A defendant might receive a "wet reckless," or a conviction of reckless driving involving alcohol, as a result of a plea bargain in which a charge of drunk driving is reduced to a case of reckless driving. There is no statutory provision on whether a wet reckless plea bargain will be accepted in Washington, but it's possible a lawyer may be able to create a plea bargain for you.

New Washington DUI Laws

Effective January, 2011, Washington has amended its DUI laws requiring mandatory reporting if a child under the age of 13 is in a vehicle driven by an intoxicated parent, legal custodian or guardian. If the arresting officer believes the child will be in imminent harm, the officer is authorized to take the child into emergency custody. Additionally, Washington has extended restricted driving privileges with an ignition interlock license to those convicted for a drug-related DUI offense.

Drinking and Driving Laws in Washington State

The State of Washington prohibits the operation of a motor vehicle by a driver that has a .08 percent or higher blood alcohol concentration (BAC). The .08 percent limit is the standard used across the United States for the "impaired" driver. The State of Washington has lower BAC limits defined for commercial drivers (.04) and drivers under the age of 21 (.02). The Washington State DUI law also prohibits the operation of a motor vehicle by a driver that in under the influence of a controlled substance such as marijuana, cocaine, inhalants and other intoxicants.

How many drinks does it take to reach the legal limit in Washington State? Trying to predict how many drinks it would take you to reach the .08 percent BAC limit with certainty is almost impossible. There are charts and calculators that can help you estimate how many drinks it would take to reach the legal limit, however these tools do not consider all variables that contribute to a BAC score. It is safe to say that each drink you take brings you that much closer to reaching the .08 BAC limit and becoming legally impaired.

The best answer is not to drink and drive. The State of Washington State has strict laws for drunk driving, and when you drink and drive in Washington State, you risk your freedom, finances and your future.

The first time you are arrested for drunk driving in the State of Washington you will serve a minimum of 24 hours in jail or up to 1 year. The court may allow a minimum 15 day home electronic monitoring program in lieu of jail time paid for at the convicted drivers expense. You will also be fined no less than $865.50 or up to $5,000. Your drivers license will be suspended for a minimum of 90 days and you may receive a restricted license after 30 days if the court allows. You will be ordered to install a ignition interlock device on your vehicle at your own expense.

The second time you are arrested for a DUI in Washington State you will serve a minimum of 30 days or up to 1 year in jail and 60 days of electronic home monitoring. You will also be fined a minimum of $1,120.50 or up to $5,000. You will be ordered to install a ignition interlock device on your vehicle at your own expense.

The third time you are convicted of drunk driving in the State of Washington you will spend a minimum of 90 days in jail and 150 days of electronic home monitoring at the convicted drivers expense. You will also be fined a minimum of $1970.50 or up to $5,000 and your drivers license will be suspended for 3 years. You will be ordered to install a ignition interlock device on your vehicle at your own expense.

Changes in the Washington State DUI Law

On 03/31/08, the Governor signed DUI Law Changes into effect, the following is a summary of those changes. Concerns accountability for persons driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs, relates to limited use licenses, license suspension and requiring that a person found guilty of certain DUI offenses have a functioning ignition interlock device installed on all motor vehicles operated by the person.

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