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.
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.
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.