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Washington State DUI First Offense



In Washington State a DUI first offense may often be reduced to a lesser charge—if you have a knowledgeable DUI lawyer who can negotiate a favorable resolution of your case. 
Similarly, whether you can beat a DUI charge at trial often depends on the skill, talent and experience of your lawyer.

However, if you plead guilty to DUI, or are convicted of DUI at trial, the penalties the judge imposes depend upon whether you took the test, refused the test, or for some reason, there is no test result.  The penalties imposed by the court for a DUI first offense are:

If your breath or blood test was less than .15, or there was no test result (but you did not refuse the test):

  • Jail:  Up to a maximum of 364 days in jail; at least a minimum of a day in jail (in lieu of a day in jail, 15 days on electronic home monitoring may be imposed).
  • Fine:  Up to a maximum of $5,000.00; at least a minimum of $940.50 with statutory assessments.
  • License Suspension:  90 days.  Need SR22 insurance to reinstate + $150 fee.
  • Ignition interlock: Must apply for the ignition interlock driver’s license ($100 application fee) and have a functioning ignition interlock device installed for at least one year (cost of leasing the device varies + $20 per month to DOL). If a passenger under the age of 16 was in the vehicle, an additional 30 days is required.
  • Probation: Maximum of 60 months.
  • Other: Obtain chemical dependency evaluation from state-certified agency and follow recommendations; attend DUI victim impact panel.

If your breath or blood test was .15 or higher, or the test was refused:

  • Jail:  Up to a maximum of 364 days in jail; at least a minimum of 2 days in jail (in lieu of 2 days in jail, 30 days on electronic home monitoring may be requested).
  • Fine:  Up to a maximum of $5,000.00; at least a minimum of $1,195.50 with statutory assessments.
  • License Revocation
    • Took test: 1 year.  Need SR22 insurance to reinstate, + $150 reissue fee.
    • Refused test:  2 years. Need SR22 insurance to reinstate, + $150 fee.
  • Ignition interlock: Must apply for the ignition interlock driver’s license ($100 application fee + SR22 insurance) and have a functioning ignition interlock device installed for at least one year (cost of leasing the device varies + $20 per month to DOL).  If a passenger under the age of 16 was in the vehicle, an additional 30 days is required.
  • Probation: Maximum of 60 months.
  • Other: Obtain chemical dependency evaluation from state-certified agency and follow recommendations; attend DUI victim impact panel.

Aside from the penalties imposed by the court, there are other serious consequences that can result from a DUI first offense conviction.  A DUI conviction can put a person’s job and livelihood in jeopardy.  Those who travel to Canada will not be permitted to cross into that country, and a DUI conviction could affect a person’s ability to rent a car.  A DUI conviction is a serious criminal offense that can never be vacated (expunged) from your criminal record, and will show up on a background check for the rest of your life.  A person who has a commercial driver’s license will lose their license for a year for a first offense DUI.  Car insurance rates will likely increase, or the policy may be cancelled.  A DUI conviction carries a stigma that can extend to the person’s family—spouses and children may be affected.

If you have been charged with a Washington State DUI first offense, we can help.  We have the scientific knowledge to challenge results of breath, blood and field sobriety testing.  Ms. Callahan wrote the legal book on DUI and related traffic offenses in Washington State; she has the respect of judges, lawyers and prosecutors across the State.  Call now for a free consultation.


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