Washington's Drugged Driving Laws

How drug use can result in a DUI charge in Washington and the penalties that result from a conviction.

By , Attorney

Washington not only prohibits drunk driving but also driving while under the influence (DUI) of drugs. And while recreational marijuana use is legal in the state, driving while under the influence of marijuana is not. The penalties for a drug DUI are generally the same as those for an alcohol-related offense.

This article discusses how Washington defines drugged driving and the consequences of a violation.

Drugged Driving Defined

A Washington motorist can be convicted of a drug DUI for driving or being in "actual physical control" of a vehicle while under the influence of drugs (including marijuana) or with a THC concentration of five nanograms or more per milliliter of blood. In other words, a drug DUI can be based on the amount of THC in your system or actual drug impairment.

Drugged Driving Penalties

The consequences of a Washington drugged driving conviction depend on the circumstances. But a DUI is generally a misdemeanor and carries the following possible penalties:

  • First offense. A first drug DUI conviction carries a fine of $350 to $5,000, one to 364 days in jail, and a 90-day license suspension. In lieu of the mandatory day in jail, the offender can serve 15 days on house arrest or 90 days in the 24/7 sobriety program.
  • Second offense. For a second DUI within seven years, the offender is generally looking at $500 to $5,000 in fines, 30 to 364 days in jail, and a two-year license suspension. Instead of the normal jail term, the judge can order four days in jail and either 180 days of house arrest or 120 days in the 24/7 sobriety program.
  • Third offense. Generally, a third DUI within seven years carries 90 to 364 days in jail, six months in the 24/7 sobriety program, $1,000 to $5,000 in fines, and a three-year license revocation. The court can add eight more days of jail time instead of sobriety monitoring.

For some offenders, participation in the 24/7 program will reduce the license suspension period.

Getting Legal Help

Washington DUI law is complex, and the facts of every case are different. If you've been arrested for driving under the influence, talk to an experienced DUI attorney in your area. A qualified DUI lawyer can tell you how the law applies to the facts of your case and help you decide on the best course of action.

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