Drivers in Washington State receive harsh DUI consequences as a result of committing serious traffic violations while driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Drivers may get severe penalties added to their driving records if found. The penalties include official WA driver’s license suspension or revocation, imprisonment and large fines.

In order to avoid harsher charges, drivers are encouraged to hire a defense attorney to help them minimize their penalties. To learn more Washington DUI information, read the sections below.

DUI Citations and Convictions in Washington

A DUI or DWI conviction occurs when a driver is pulled over by a law enforcement officer and is found to have a blood alcohol concentration level over the legal limit. Motorists will get DUI charges added to their driving records for each offense committed. A DUI is considered a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the charges and circumstances.

Washington Under the Influence Violations and Penalties

The consequences for committing a DUI violation vary based on the motorist’s age, blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level and the number of previous offenses. The severity of WA DUI penalties will differ depending on the cause for operating a vehicle while intoxicated by alcohol and/or drugs.

First DUI Offense

When charged with their first DUI in Washington, drivers will incur driving fines of up to $5,000, court fees, jail time up to a year and a driver’s license suspension or revocation for a period from 90 days to 2 years. Drivers who face their first DWI arrest in WA are encouraged to hire a lawyer to have their charges or penalties lifted.

Second DUI Offense

A second or subsequent DUI violation in Washington brings more severe consequences than those for a first drunk driving offense. When drivers have prior convictions, they may get additional penalties such as a driver’s license suspension or revocation of up to 4 years and a home detention period of 150 days.

Moreover, other requirements may be imposed on offenders, such as filing for SR-22 insurance, reapplication for a license, loss of your motor vehicle, and the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) on the offender’s vehicle.

Drinking and Driving in Washington

Motorists will face drunk driving charges in Washington when they are caught driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Both alcohol and drugs have similar effects on a driver’s ability to make safe driving decisions when operating a vehicle. Therefore, drivers who want to avoid a DWI arrest are recommended to refrain from using intoxicants that endanger the lives of other traffic participants.

Driving intoxicated may also result in vehicular manslaughter, which is a criminal charge due to the death of another. A Washington impaired driving lawyer is a necessary professional in such situations who may help you minimize the DUI penalties and reduce the DUI charges.

Washington DUI Attorneys

A drunk driving attorney in Washington is a legal representative who specializes in state DUI laws and citation regulations. Drivers charged with DUI should hire an experienced lawyer to help them deal with the consequences that arise from committing an offense.

Prior to choosing a defense attorney, drivers are encouraged to conduct background checks on potential legal representatives. Choosing a lawyer wisely to defend them in court can minimize their penalties and drunk driving charges.

Open Container Laws in Washington

In accordance with Washington driving laws, the Open Container Law imposes DUI charges to drivers who possess or drink from an open alcoholic beverage container or consume drugs while driving a motor vehicle. Additionally, drivers will also get harsh DUI penalties when they incorrectly label or disguise the open container.

Under the Open Container Law, drivers will not be charged with a DUI if the driver keeps the open alcoholic beverage container in a place that is not accessible to him or her.

Reinstating a Suspended Drivers License in Washington

Drivers holding a DUI suspended license in Washington must reinstate it by satisfying certain DMV and court requirements, which may vary depending on the gravity of the offense committed. The reinstatement requirements for a DUI drivers license suspension may include paying applicable fees, maintaining SR-22 car insurance for 3 years and completing a DUI traffic school program.

Washington Alcohol Awareness Classes

Drivers who are charged with DUI in Washington and suffer from alcohol and drug addiction may be eligible to enroll in a special traffic school course known as Deferred Prosecution Program.

These DUI classes are available to drivers who satisfy both DMV and court-ordered eligibility requirements, such as using ignition interlock device (IID) or providing proof of liability insurance. In these cases, convictions are postponed until the DUI course is completed.

Note: Drivers facing these charges may enroll in the Deferred Prosecution Program only once in their lifetime.

SR-22 Insurance in Washington

Washington insurance for DUI drivers is more commonly known as SR-22 insurance. This kind of car insurance certifies that high-risk drivers are in compliance with state laws. Drivers with DUI charges who want to reinstate their driving privileges may be required to maintain SR-22 insurance after DUI for a period of up to 3 years.

Washington Laws That Pertain to DUI/DWI

Washington law determines the acceptable levels of blood alcohol concentration (BAC) when operating motor vehicles. Drivers will face drunk driving charges if they are driving with a BAC level above 0.08 percent, greater than 0.02 percent for motorists younger than 21 years of age, or 0.04 percent for commercial license holders.

In addition, the Implied Consent Law requires every driver to submit to a BAC test when requested by a police officer. Therefore, drivers will get a Washington DWI conviction for failing or refusing to submit to a BAC test.

Washington Hardship License

Holders of DUI suspended licenses in Washington may be allowed to apply for a hardship license while waiting for the suspension period to end. In Washington, two types of hardship licenses are available to drivers: an ignition interlock license (IIL) or an occupational/restricted license (ORL).

Drivers who have committed DUI offenses may apply for either the IIL license or the ORL license. The ORL license is issued to drivers who need to drive to and from work, school, apprenticeship, job training, community service, substance abuse treatment or for the purpose of continuing the health-care of another individual.

Last updated on Wednesday, March 4 2020.