A first-time DUI conviction in Washington is generally a misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum jail sentence of one year, driver’s license suspension for one year, and/ or a fine no more than $5,000. However, if a driver has a child passenger under 16 years old in the vehicle at the time of the arrest, then he/she may also be charged with DUI child endangerment and face harsher penalties.
Under Washington Law RCW 46.61.507, police officers must make specific notes about any driver who is arrested for operating a vehicle under the influence. If the driver is the child’s parent, guardian, or sibling, then law enforcement officials will immediately contact Child Protective Services (CPS).
Endangering a minor for driving while intoxicated carries additional penalties. A first offense is punishable by a mandatory minimum jail term of one day and a fine of at least $1,000, a second offense can result in a mandatory minimum jail sentence of five days and a fine of at least $2,000, and a third or subsequent offense carries a mandatory minimum jail term of ten days and a fine of at least $3,000.
Furthermore, in order to reinstate a driver’s license after suspension in Washington State, you may be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in all your vehicles for a specific period. A DUI child endangerment conviction will lead to an additional six months of IID use.
Since this type of DUI charge involves a minor passenger, judges often enforce a more severe sentence if a driver is found guilty. However, even a DUI child endangerment charge can be dismissed or reduced to a standard DUI with the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a DUI in Tacoma, contact Hester Law Group today at (253) 300-3034 for a free initial consultation. Our legal team has more than 130 years of combined legal experience!