Will I Get Jail Time For My DUI In Washington?

On Behalf of | Dec 28, 2017 | DUI

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.