Finding A DUI Lawyer in Washington
Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense in Washington. Anyone caught driving while intoxicated can face severe penalties including legal, financial, and personal consequences. Finding a top-rated DUI lawyer in Washington can help you keep your rights and a clean criminal record. The State of Washington has strict DUI laws and penalties designed to discourage drivers from driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Despite these measures, however, DUI charges remain a significant issue in Washington. In this article, we will explore the rate of DUI arrests in the state over the past few years, the penalties for a DUI arrest, and discuss how getting a Washington DUI lawyer can help you beat a DUI charge.
DUI vs DWI in Washington State
In the state of Washington, the terms DUI (Driving Under the Influence) and DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) are often used interchangeably in common speaking. However, law enforcement predominantly uses the term DUI. Contrary to practices in some other states, Washington State law does not differentiate between DUI and DWI as separate offenses with distinct criteria or penalties.
Washington employs the term DUI to address a wide range of conditions under which a person is found to be driving while impaired. This includes driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination thereof. The penalties associated with this offense are outlined explicitly under DUI statutes and do not vary based on the terminology used.
DUI in Washington
According to Washington State Code 46.61.502, a person is guilty of DUI if they are caught operating a motor vehicle under the following conditions:
- A blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher, as measured within two hours of driving.
- A THC concentration of 5.00 ng/mL or higher, also measured within two hours of driving.
- Being under the influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor, marijuana, or any drug.
- Being under the combined influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor, marijuana, and any drug.
DWI in Washington
In some jurisdictions, DWI is used to describe driving while impaired by substances other than alcohol. In some states, it may also denote a higher level of alcohol impairment compared to DUI. However, in Washington State, there is no distinct legal classification for DWI. The laws, penalties, and legal procedures that apply to what people commonly refer to as DWI are identical to those for DUI.
DUI Arrests in Washington
According to the Washington State Administrative Office of the Courts, there were 19,646 DUI cases in the state in 2022. This number represents a significant decrease from the 25,619 DUI arrests in 2017, as reported by the Washington Traffic Safety Commission.
These statistics indicate that DUI charges remain a significant issue in Washington. Despite efforts to reduce impaired driving, many drivers are still getting arrested for DUI. The consequences of a DUI charge can be severe, including fines, license suspension, and a criminal record. Additionally, a DUI conviction can have long-lasting effects on your personal and professional life, including difficulty finding employment and increased insurance premiums.
Penalties for A DUI in Washington State
In Washington State, the penalties for DUI depend upon several factors. These factors include the driver’s prior DUI history within a seven-year period, the level of alcohol or substance impairment, and whether the offense resulted in injury or death.
DUI penalties in Washington State escalate with each offense and are further aggravated by specific conditions such as high BAC levels or causing injury. The law mandates jail time, fines, and license suspension for each offense level, making the implications of multiple DUIs particularly severe.
Here’s a more detailed look at DUI penalties in the State of Washington:
First DUI in Washington
- Jail Time: A mandatory minimum of 24 hours and up to one year.
- Fines: Between $990 and $5,000.
- License Suspension: 90 days to one year, depending on the circumstances of the arrest.
- Ignition Interlock Device (IID): Mandatory IID installation in your vehicle for at least one year.
Second DUI in Washington
If the second DUI offense occurs within seven years of the first:
- Jail Time: A minimum of 30 days in jail and 60 days of electronic home monitoring.
- Fines: Between $1,245 and $5,000.
- License Suspension: Two years minimum.
- IID: Mandatory for at least five years after the license is reinstated.
Third DUI in Washington
For a third DUI offense within seven years:
- Jail Time: Minimum of 90 days in jail and an additional 120 days of electronic home monitoring.
- Fines: Between $1,945 and $5,000.
- License Suspension: Three years to permanent revocation.
- IID: Mandatory for at least ten years after the license is reinstated.
Fourth DUI in Washington
A fourth DUI offense within ten years is classified as a Class C felony. This significantly heightens the penalties:
- Jail Time: Ranges from one to five years of imprisonment.
- Fines: Up to $10,000.
- License Revocation: Permanent revocation is possible.
- IID: At the discretion of the court upon reinstatement.
It’s important to note that other factors can aggravate these penalties:
- High BAC: A BAC of 0.15% or higher significantly increases both jail time and fines for each offense level.
- Minor in the Vehicle: The presence of a passenger under the age of 16 adds extra jail time and fines.
- Refusal to Submit to Testing: Refusing to take a breath or blood test can result in an automatic license suspension for at least one year and installation of an IID for at least one year after reinstatement.
- Causing Injury or Death: DUI offenses that cause injury or death are likely to result in felony charges, carrying more severe penalties, including long-term imprisonment.
It is important to note that these penalties are not exhaustive and may vary depending on the circumstances of your case. Additionally, DUI convictions can have long-lasting effects on your personal and professional life, including difficulty finding employment and increased insurance premiums. This is just another reason to hire a skilled criminal defense lawyer in Washington State.
How A Washington State DUI Lawyer Can Help
A Washington DUI attorney thoroughly understands the state’s DUI laws and can explain the charges you are facing and the potential consequences. DUI laws in Washington are complex and can be challenging to understand, especially for someone who has never been charged with a DUI before.
A DUI attorney in Washington can help you understand the charges against you and the potential penalties you may face if convicted. A Washington criminal defense attorney can also investigate the circumstances of your arrest and look for any evidence that may help your case. This includes examining the police report, analyzing breath test or blood test results, and interviewing witnesses.
Top Washington DUI Lawyers
If you are facing a DUI charge in Washington, it is essential to seek the help of a qualified DUI defense attorney. A criminal defense attorney in Washington can provide you with the legal knowledge and representation you need to defend yourself against a DUI charge. A Washington DUI lawyer can help you protect your driving record by successfully defending you against a guilty verdict. Call our DUI law firm today for a free consultation.
More STATE DUI Resources
If you need a DUI lawyer in a specific city in Washington, we also have pages for DUI lawyers in cities across the state of Washington. Read our helpful and informative articles below to find a DUI lawyer near you. Also, you can call 1-888-839-4384 anytime to schedule a free consultation.
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