Standard DUI Penalties In Washington

The State of Washington takes DUI offenses seriously when it comes to penalties received by those convicted of these crimes.

Like many states, Washington also has a set of standard penalties that are issued in DUI cases before the courts.

These penalties can include a combination of jail time, fines, license suspension, evaluations, and other penalties.

Factors Considered

The mandatory penalties that are issued for a DUI in Washington can vary depending on a number of factors.

These factors include:

• How many prior DUI offenses the defendant has within the previous seven years;

• The driver’s blood alcohol level (BAC);

• The breathalyzer results, as well as any refusals to take the test; and

• Injuries that resulted, if any, from the DUI.

First DUI In Seven Years

If a DUI is the first one that the defendant has had ever or in the last seven years, and the defendant’s BAC is below 0.15, the minimum jail sentence is one day in jail or 15 days electronic home monitoring, with a minimum fine of $941 and 90 day license suspension.

If the driver refused to take the test or the BAC is 0.15 or above, the minimum jail sentence is two days in custody or 30 days electronic home monitoring, a minimum fine of $1,196, and a license suspension of one year or two years if the driver refused to take the test.

In addition, a one-year period of ignition interlock is required as a result of a first DUI conviction.

Second DUI in Seven Years

If this offense is the driver’s second DUI in seven years, the penalties do increase.

For someone who has a BAC of below 0.15, a minimum jail sentence of 30 days is imposed or 60 days of electronic home monitoring, with a minimum fine of $1,196, and a license suspension for two years.

If the driver had a BAC of 0.15 or above or refused to cooperate with the test, he or she will face a minimum jail sentence of 45 days, 90 days of electronic home monitoring, a minimum fine of $1,621, and a license suspension of two and a half years for a high BAC or a three year suspension for refusing to take the breath test.

A second-time offense comes with at least one year of the ignition interlock, with a possibility of up to five years of the device.

Third DUI In Seven Years

If this is the driver’s third DUI in seven years, again, the penalties increase in Washington State.

For a driver who has a BAC of below 0.15, a minimum jail sentence of 90 days with 120 days electronic home monitoring is imposed, with a fine of $2,046, and three years license suspension.

If the driver has a BAC of 0.15 or over or refused to take the breath test, the jail sentence increases to a minimum of 120 days with 150 days electronic home monitoring, a minimum fine of $2,896, and license suspension for four years.

The ignition interlock device is required again, and depending on how the prior offenses were disposed of, the length can be either ten years, five years, or one year.

If the driver has had three or more DUIs, the state can also designate him or her as a Washington State habitual traffic offender (HTO).

The court will also require an alcohol evaluation and treatment at this point, as well as a victim’s impact panel.

The driver will be responsible for the costs of both of these penalties.

Additional Factors To Consider

No one situation is the same, and because of this, aggravating factors can come into play when determining the mandatory sentence to be given.

Judges are given discretion when determining whether a defendant should receive more than the mandatory minimum, based on the circumstances of the case.

Factors that could increase the sentence include the number of criminal convictions other than a DUI that the driver has on his or her record, whether the DUI led to an accident, whether there were passengers or even children present, and whether the judge believes the driver poses a risk to those on the road.

Probation

The State of Washington can impose up to five years of probation, whether the probation be monitored, unmonitored or a combination of the two types.

Monitored probation means that a probation officer is assigned to the driver’s case, and he or she is required to keep in regular contact with the officer for the term of probation.

Unmonitored means that a court clerk periodically checks compliance with the probation sentence.

Contact Durflinger Oliver & Associates Today

If you’ve been detained or arrested, the experienced defense attorneys at Durflinger Oliver & Associates can help.

Call today to schedule your free consultation at 855-712-7371. Ask about our military discount and convenient payment plans.

Posted in DUI

Understanding How Prior DUI Convictions Affect DUI Cases

When it comes to Washington DUI laws, many factors play into how severe the penalties will be after a conviction is entered.

One of these factors is whether the defendant has prior convictions on his or her record. A prior conviction can mean many different things, however, more than just an official DUI.

Prior Offense Defined

When it comes determining a mandatory sentence, many factors are considered.

These include whether the driver has prior DUI offenses, whether he or she complied with taking the breathalyzer test, whether an accident was involved in the incident, whether any children or other passengers were present at the time, and whether the judge believes the driver posed a risk to the community.

If the driver has one or more prior offense in his or her criminal history, the minimum jail sentence that the court has to impose will likely be increased.

A prior offense is defined as an offense that has occurred within the previous seven years of the date of the current arrest.

What Offenses Qualify As A Prior Offense?

DUI

The first and most obvious offense is another DUI conviction, so long as it occurred within the seven years before the current offense the driver is facing.

A DUI can be in Washington as well as any other jurisdiction for it to be considered a prior offense.

Physical Control

Physical control is another offense considered as a “prior.”

It involves an individual being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of or affected by alcohol or other substance or while the driver has sufficient alcohol in his or her body to have a BAC of 0.08 or higher within two hours after being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle.

Reckless Driving

A prior offense also includes reckless driving, if amended from a DUI charge. Reckless driving is defined as someone driving a motor vehicle with willful and wanton disregard for the safety of others or of property.

So long as the reckless driving charge occurred within the previous seven years and was a plea down from an original DUI charge, it will be considered a prior offense.

Reckless Endangerment

Another prior offense includes reckless endangerment, and like reckless driving, it is included if pleaded down from an original DUI charge and must have occurred within seven years of the current charge.

Negligent Driving in the First Degree

A prior offense also includes negligent driving in the first degree, which involves operating a motor vehicle in a way that is considered negligent.

This means that the individual has breached a standard of care that all drivers should follow when operating a motor vehicle.

This offense must be reduced from a DUI charge for it to be counted as a prior offense.

Deferred Prosecution

A deferred prosecution is included as a prior offense, even if it was dismissed after the required five-year period.

Deferred prosecution is a program for those who are seeking treatment for alcoholism, mental health or drug addiction.

The person must have admitted they have a problem for which treatment is needed and admit that without the treatment, he or she would likely re-offend.

Incidents Resulting in Injury

A prior offense also includes when an accident results from the DUI, including vehicular homicide or vehicular assault. The judge will also consider any injuries or death in determining the minimum sentence issued.

Operating a Commercial Motor Vehicle with THC in System

Another prior offense includes an individual operating a commercial vehicle with marijuana or THC in his or her system.

Operating Additional Vehicles or Devices Under Influence

A prior offense does not just include a car or truck. In fact, other vehicles or motorized devices can be included in terms of a prior offense.

These offenses include operating a vessel under the influence of intoxicating liquor, marijuana or other mind-altering drug, otherwise known as Boating under the Influence (BUI).

If the person has previously been arrested for operating an aircraft under the influence, this offense will be considered as a prior one.

In addition, if he or she has operated a snowmobile under the influence, this can be considered as a prior in determining the penalty.

Lastly, if the person operated a golf cart under the influence or any other “non-highway” vehicle, that can be considered, as well, as a prior offense.

Contact Durflinger Oliver & Associates Today

If you’ve been detained or arrested, the experienced defense attorneys at Durflinger Oliver & Associates can help.

Schedule your free consultation by calling 855-712-7371 today. Ask about our military discount and convenient payment plans.

Posted in DUI

Is It Possible To Plead To A Lesser Offense For A Washington State DUI?

No one wants a DUI on their record. The offense carries a great deal of negative connotation with it for the defendant.

A DUI charge can result in significantly higher insurance premiums and can hurt the driver’s chances of getting a job at a later date once the offense is on the driver’s official record.

It is for these reasons that many drivers hope to get their offense reduced to lesser charge, but is that always possible?

Reckless Driving

A reckless driving conviction is a lesser charge than a standard DUI and is considered a reduction.

Many drivers prefer a reckless driving conviction because it does not come with required jail time or fines on a first offense in seven years.

Of course, the judge always has the discretion to impose jail time depending on the circumstances, but it is not statutorily required.

If the driver does plead down to a reckless charge, however, and later receives another DUI or related charge, the reckless driving can count against him or her as a “prior” DUI, which will be used to enhance the mandatory minimum penalties on the later conviction.

A reckless driving conviction comes with a mandatory license suspension for a period of 30-days.

If the driver previously lost his or her driver’s license due to the DUI charge, he or she will not receive any additional suspension time on top of what was already “served.”

However, if the driver did not lose his or her license up until that point, the mandatory 30-day suspension period will kick in.

In some circumstances, a driver can drive during this 30-day period but only with an occupational restricted license.

First-Degree Negligent Driving

Another option available to defendants facing a DUI in Washington is a “negligent driving in the first degree.”

What this offense entails is the individual was operating a vehicle in a way that is considered negligent, meaning he or she breached the standard of care that the law believes all drivers should follow when behind the wheel, and because of his or her negligence, the driver endangered either another person or property.

In addition to this negligent behavior, the driver must have exhibited the side effects of having consumed drugs or alcohol.

Under Washington law, a first-degree negligent driving charge is a misdemeanor. The penalties include up to 90 days in jail along with a maximum fine of $1,000.

As is the case in any criminal legal matter, a judge can modify and add to this sentence depending on the circumstances of the case.

Second DUI Offenses

Matters can become much more complicated if the defendant is facing a second DUI offense or later offense.

Many states punish repeat DUI offenders more severely than first-time offenders, and Washington State is no different.

When a judge is looking at sentencing, prior convictions for DUI offenses will stay on someone’s record for seven years.

DUI offenses are not the only convictions that will be used as “priors” when coming up with later punishments.

In fact, if a driver was originally charged with a DUI but pleaded to a lesser offense, such as a “wet reckless” or first-degree negligent driving charge, that conviction will also be counted as a “prior” offense when determining the second or later offense’s punishment.

It is important that defendants discuss this possibility with their attorneys prior to agreeing to any plea bargain.

Deferred Prosecution

Is it possible that the defendant can agree to another alternative in lieu of the State prosecuting a DUI charge?

Yes, this possibility does exist in the form of a deferred prosecution.

A deferred prosecution is an agreement by the State to not prosecute a DUI in exchange for a defendant’s agreement to enter into and finish a two-year intensive outpatient alcohol, drug or mental health treatment program.

A treatment program can be pricey and generally runs between $2,000 to $5,000. Health insurance may cover the cost of a program, but not all do.

Once the defendant enters into the agreement, he or she agrees that if the program is not completed or he or she commits a violation of the conditions given by the court, the court will then review the police report to determine guilt or innocence.

This review normally results in a DUI conviction. A defendant only gets one deferred prosecution opportunity in a lifetime.

Therefore, it is extremely important that this option is considered seriously and completed fully.

Contact Durflinger Oliver & Associates Today

If you’ve been detained or arrested, the experienced defense attorneys at Durflinger Oliver & Associates can help.

Call 855-712-7371 today to schedule your free consultation. Ask about our military discount and convenient payment plans.

Posted in DUI

4 Facts About Washington’s New E-DUI Law

In 2017, Washington State took a big step towards tougher regulations on distracted driving.

Prior to the new law that was enacted in the summer of 2017, Washington had already made texting or holding a phone to the driver’s ear illegal while driving.

However, the law has been expanded into much more than that, and it is important that drivers understand what this means.

1. What Is The E-DUI?

In the Spring of 2017, the Washington state legislature expanded the already-strict distracted driving law to forbid handling a phone while behind the wheel for any reason at all.

This even included while at a stop in traffic or while at a red light. Previously, the law had simply forbidden texting and calling someone while driving.

This new law essentially makes it illegal to use a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle.

So long as the driver is in the flow of traffic, he or she is to not even touch the cell phone. If the driver wants to use an electronic device, he or she is expected to pull over and do so once out of traffic.

In addition, the law also makes it possible that a driver can be ticketed for any activity that causes the driver to be distracted and possibly drive poorly as a result, such as drinking, brushing one’s hair, eating or any other type of activity that does not include driving.

The law now classifies all of these actions as an “E-DUI.” Like driving under the influence of alcohol, the driver is “driving under the influence of electronics.”

The violation is also considered a “primary offense”, which means that police can stop you if it looks like you’ve broken the E-DUI law.

2. What Are The E-DUI Penalties?

An E-DUI infraction works on graduated scale. It starts with an initial fine of $136. A second offense and any subsequent offenses within five years will be a $234 fine.

Unlike the previous cell phone violations, a driver who receives an E-DUI will see it placed on his or her driving record, which will also be reported to the insurance provider and could very easily increase insurance premiums.

The additional activities not related to operating a car, as mentioned before, such as smoking or eating will end up with a fine of $99.

The reason for this new law? A distraction is a distraction, no matter what.

3. What Are The Exceptions?

Like so much of the law, however, there are exceptions to the rule. Drivers can use a phone while driving so long as it is “hands-free” and requires very minimal finger touching.

The driver can swipe the phone to turn it on but nothing more than that. So long as the driver keeps the phone in a cradle and uses only voice commands to operate the GPS or make calls, he or she should be in the clear.

Of course, the law does allow an exception for drivers who need to call 911 in the event of an emergency.

If the car is out of traffic and not in use, the driver can use the electronic device. However, the driver must be parked and completely outside of traffic.

If he or she needs to use a GPS to access directions, this needs to happen out of traffic and before the car starts moving.

Drivers who use a CB or two-way radio are also excluded from the law. Similarly, police officers, emergency workers or firefighters are exempt from the law, while in the line of their duties.

4. What To Do If Charged With An E-DUI

Keep in mind that the law is still relatively new and has not been fully litigated. The term “DUI” normally comes with negative connotations, and an E-DUI is no exception.

This offense will be on the driver’s record for the long haul so it so it is important that the driver do whatever can be done to minimize the damage once receiving the initial ticket.

Because the law is so new, it is recommended that the driver contact a criminal attorney to discuss his or her rights and see how would be the best way to approach the situation.

With the first offense or even second, the ticket might be flawed, and beatable. No matter what, though, the offense should not be taken seriously.

While it may not be something as taboo as alcohol or drugs, distracted driving is now being treated seriously and drivers should seek experienced legal help.

Contact Durflinger Oliver & Associates Today

If you’ve been detained or arrested, the experienced defense attorneys at Durflinger Oliver & Associates can help.

Call today to schedule your free consultation at 855-712-7371. Ask about our military discount and convenient payment plans.

Posted in DUI

Will I Get Jail Time For My DUI In Washington?

If someone is accused of a DUI in the State of Washington, he or she may be facing the possibility of jail time. In fact, a DUI in Washington is actually punishable by up to 364 days in jail.

While this sentence is only given in extreme circumstances, the possibility is there that a person charged with a DUI could be sentenced to serve time in jail.

Mandatory Washington State DUI Penalties

For the most part, DUI offenses come with specific mandatory penalties, which can vary based on how many prior DUI offenses the defendant has had within the past 7 years.

These prior offenses can include not just a DUI but also any vehicular assault and vehicular homicide convictions.

Crimes that were also charged as a DUI but reduced to a lesser sentence, such as reckless driving, are also considered a “prior offense” if they happened within seven years of the most current arrest for a DUI.

The mandatory penalty can also vary based on the breathalyzer results. The higher the blood alcohol levels (BAC), the higher the mandatory minimum sentence.

First DUI Offense

If the defendant is facing his or her first DUI offense in seven years and the BAC is less than 0.15, the minimum jail sentence is one day with a minimum fine of $941, as well as a license suspension of 90 days.

If the BAC is above 0.15 or the driver refused, the minimum jail sentence is two days with a minimum fine of $1,195.50. If the BAC was above 0.15, the driver will likely face a one-year license suspension.

If he or she refused to take the test, the license suspension could be for two years. A one-year sentence of using an ignition interlock system is also required for a 1st DUI conviction.

Second DUI Offense

For a second DUI offense in seven years, if the defendant had a BAC of below 0.15, he or she could be facing 30 days of jail and 60 days of electronic home monitoring, a minimum fine of $1,195.50 and 2 years of a license suspension.

For refusal to take the test or a BAC of above 0.15, the defendant, if convicted, will face 45 days in jail and 90 days with electronic home monitoring, as well as a fine of $1,620.50.

The driver’s license will be suspended for 2.5 years for a high BAC level or 3 years for refusal to take the test. The ignition interlock system is required for a second DUI offense for at least one year, with the possibility of up to five years.

Additional DUI Offenses

For a defendant who has received three or more DUI convictions, with a BAC of below 0.15, he or she could be facing 90 days jail time with 120 days of electronic home monitoring and a fine of $2,045.50, as well as a driver’s license suspension for three years.

For drivers with a BAC over 0.15 or those who refused to take the test and were convicted, the jail sentence increases to 120 days in jail with 150 days of electronic home monitoring, a fine of $2,895.50, and license suspension for four years.

The ignition interlock requirement can be anywhere from one to ten years, depending on what type of prior offenses the driver had.

The driver will also need to complete an alcohol evaluation, as well as treatment program, both of which the driver pays for out of pocket.

Alternatives To Jail

In many situations, a defendant may have other options to jail time. While many DUI penalties do require mandatory jail time be served by “imprisonment,” this does leave some possibilities open.

Imprisonment means it cannot be served at home through electronic monitoring, but the defendant could potentially do work release in some jurisdictions.

Also, some counties have jail alternative days for 1st offenders that allow them to complete a day in jail and alcohol treatment classes in less confining locations than a county jail.

Probation Terms

The State does require up to five (5) years of probation for a DUI offense. It can be monitored by a probation department or unmonitored, as well as a combination of the two.

All unmonitored supervision means is that a court clerk will check compliance with the sentence.

Monitored means an actual probation officer is assigned to the defendant’s case, and this person maintains regular contact with the offender for the length of the probation term.

The defendant will be responsible for the costs of probation.

Contact Us Today

If you’ve been detained or arrested, the experienced defense attorneys at Durflinger Oliver & Associates can help.

Call 855-712-7371 today to schedule your free consultation. Ask about our military discount and convenient payment plans.

Posted in DUI

Beware of Cannabis Blows 2017

respirator     Washington State University (WSU) researchers say they are about a year away from having a portable breath test that police can use to detect if someone has recently consumed weed and is driving under the influence.
Roadside breath tests already exist to detect whether drivers have consumed alcohol. But currently, officers have no similar device to test drivers for marijuana use. WSU researchers have completed their first round of testing of the marijuana breathalyzer and are making improvements.      The second round of testing is about to begin and the plan is to make the device available for police to use in the field sometime next year.
While police would still need to get a warrant and draw a person’s blood to see if they meet the legal definition of impairment under the state’s marijuana laws, a breath test could be a more reliable way to detect marijuana impairment than field sobriety tests that officers use now.
Initiative 502, which voters approved in 2012 to legalize recreational marijuana use, said drivers are considered impaired if they test positive for at least 5 nanograms of delta-9 THC per milliliter of blood. The marijuana breath test under development at WSU is designed to test for delta-9 THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana that causes someone to get high- not the metabolite that can stay in someone’s system for days or weeks. Right now, the test determines only whether delta-9 TCH is present in someone’s system, and not what level is in their blood.
Out of 30 times the test was recently used on someone before and after they smoked marijuana, it accurately detected TCH in the person’s system about half of the time. The test turned up only one false positive during the trials. Researchers are continuing to refine the breath test and will only improve on those results. The research team had already made changes that will help make the test more accurate going forward.

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Drunk Driving Starts Young

Study of 12-Year-Olds’ Views Hint at DUI Risk.

Drunk DrivingA study of kids in the Los Angeles area suggests a specific way to reduce the risk that they will drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol as teenagers. This is accomplished by challenging their beliefs about marijuana as early as sixth grade. The 12-year-olds who believed that marijuana could help them relax or be otherwise beneficial were significantly more likely to drive under the influence when they were 16 than 12-year-olds who had negative views of marijuana. They were also significantly more likely to ride with someone else who was buzzed, drunk or high behind the wheel, according to the study. This study was published October 5, 2015 in the journal Pediatrics.

The study indicates that youth view marijuana use as less dangerous than drinking. Driving under the influence is common among American teenagers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 10 percent of high school students drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs in any given month, and more than 20 percent have been passengers of someone driving under the influence. Researchers from Rand Corp. in Santa Monica, California and Arlington, Virginia looked for risk factors in middle school that could predict these dangerous behaviors in high school. Using statistical models to control for the student’s age, gender, race and ethnicity, school and whether their mothers had graduated from high school, the researchers identified several factors that seemed to predict unsafe driving, include drunk driving, at age 16.

Kids who had warmer, fuzzier ideas about marijuana use when they were 12 were 63 percent more likely than their peers to admit either driving under the influence themselves or to ride with someone who was driving under the influence, according to the study. In addition, 12-year-olds who felt most confident that they could resist marijuana use wound up being 89 percent more likely to mix alcohol and drugs with cars, motorcycles or other vehicles.

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DUI and Retrograde Extrapolation

Delayed Blood-Alcohol Estimates Draw Criticism in Cases.

The way prosecutors saw it, the Defendant was driving while intoxicated when he raced own a Long Island freeway at 100mph this summer and slammed into a car carrying a family home from church. The fiery wreck killed a father and his two children. The defendant’s blood-alcohol reading, taken Retrograde Extrapolationabout four hours later, was 0.06 which is below the legal limit of 0.08. The Defendant was still charged with Driving under the influence and vehicular homicide because a forensic technique estimated that his blood-alcohol level at the time of the crash was actually 0.12.

This technique is known as retrograde extrapolation and has been used to win convictions in DUI cases nationwide for decades, but has increasingly come under scrutiny by drunken-driving experts as an unreliable measure of a person’s intoxication. Some defense attorneys have even labeled it junk science. A former prosecutor who is representing the Defendant stated that, “Retrograde extrapolation is about as scientifically reliable as astrology. It relies on the assumption that a person’s blood-alcohol content peaked prior to the arrest without any basis to prove that.”

While there are no national statistics to document the use of retrograde extrapolation, prosecutors in many states have offered evidence of estimated intoxication levels at trial, whereas, courts in other states have severely restricted its use requiring prosecutors to use only blood-alcohol readings taken at the time of arrest. Prosecutors who have used retrograde extrapolation swear by it as a proven technique that doesn’t reward DUI suspects for fleeing the scene and avoiding immediate blood-alcohol testing. Experts say the intoxicating effects of alcohol are not experienced until it is absorbed into the blood stream. After a person stops drinking, the blood-alcohol level peaks when the most alcohol has been absorbed and the least amount of alcohol has been eliminated. Defense attorneys argue that alcohol absorption and elimination rates vary widely depending on a person’s gender, drinking habits, the type of beverage, what a person ate and how much, and whether a person had experienced trauma, which sometimes slows the rate.

Don’t trust the junk science. If the police “expert” says a person was drunk, you need to hire an experienced DUI attorney who knows how to attack drunk driving, and DWI, charges. The experienced DUI attorneys at Durflinger Oliver & Associates will meet with you for free and explain your options. Call today, and ask about our convenient payment plans and military discount – 253-683-4180.

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