DUIs are a relatively common charge in Washington State. And unfortunately, we’ve learned that the general public does not have all of the knowledge when it comes to DUI laws. It can be much more complex than simply driving while intoxicated. The good news? We’re here to give you some basic information and if you find yourself facing a DUI, we’re here to help you fight that charge aggressively.
Typically, individuals are charged with DUI when they have been driving and their blood alcohol level is .08 or above. The state usually proves this through a breath or blood test. Another key point is that the state must be able to prove that a person’s blood alcohol concentration was .08 within two hours of driving. This means, if your blood test was administered 3 hours after driving, you may have a defense. You may also have a defense if you can prove that your blood alcohol concentration was actually the result of alcohol consumed after driving.
There are some aggravating factors to DUIs that could result in high sentences if convicted. There are two big ones to know about: passenger under the age of 16 in the vehicle and driving the wrong way on a multiple lane highway.
If a person is found guilty of a DUI and there is a finding that there was a passenger under 16 years old in the vehicle at the time, there are additional consequences that are mandatory – meaning the judge must impose them. These additional consequences are:
Ignition Interlock Device will be required for an additional 6 months;
Upon a first conviction, there will be an additional 24 hours of imprisonment;
This increases to an additional 5 days on a second offense and an additional 10 days on a third offense; and
An additional $1,000 fine.
If an individual is found guilty of a DUI and the person was driving the wrong way on a multiple lane highway, the court may take those facts into account. Unlike the first aggravating factor, this factor does not require the judge to impose additional consequences but gives the judge the option to do so. This could result in longer imprisonment or higher fines.
Similarly, if a person is convicted of multiple offenses, they could face stricter consequences. These come into play when someone has been convicted of a second DUI within 7 years or a third DUI within 7 years. Here are some of the ways it can affect a sentence:
1st DUI may come with 1-365 days in jail. With a second DUI, that increases to 30-365 days. With a 3rd DUI, that increases to 90-365 days.
With a 1st DUI, license suspension is 90 days. With a second DUI, it increases to a two-year revocation and with a third DUI, it increases to a 3-year revocation.
DUI’s can have long-lasting consequences on your life, outside of license suspension and jail time. They can affect your employment – which can affect your ability to pay your rent, maintain a credit score, provide a living for your family. These are only a few factors that come into play when someone is charged with a DUI. If you are facing a DUI charge, it’s important to talk with a knowledgeable attorney immediately.