Under Washington law, you can be charged with driving under the influence (DUI) for operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more, while under the influence of (impaired by) drugs or alcohol, or with a certain amount of marijuana in your system. Most DUI convictions are misdemeanors. However, in certain circumstances, a DUI can be charged as a felony.
Here are some of the circumstances that can result in felony DUI charges in Washington.
Typically, a first, second, or third DUI conviction is a misdemeanor in Washington. But when a driver has three or more prior convictions that occurred within the past ten years, the next DUI (fourth or subsequent) will be a felony.
A fourth or subsequent DUI conviction is either a class B or class C felony. A class B felony carries up to ten years in prison and a maximum fine of $20,000. Motorists convicted of a class C felony are looking at up to five years in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine.
A DUI involving serious injury to another person is vehicular assault, a class B felony. Convicted motorists are looking at up to five years in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine.
Causing the death of another person while driving under the influence is considered "vehicular homicide," a class A felony. A conviction carries up to life in prison and a maximum $50,000 fine.