Since 2007, a DUI or Physical Control is a Felony DUI if the person has four or more prior DUIs (or other qualified offenses) within ten years or if the person has ever previously been convicted of vehicular homicide or vehicular assault while under the influence.
Also, a DUI or Physical Control is a felony if the person has ever previously been convicted of felony DUI or felony Physical Control.
Similar to a gross misdemeanor DUI, the prosecution has to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the driver either had a .08 or higher breath or blood alcohol concentration, a 5 ng or higher blood THC concentration, or that the driving was affected by alcohol, marijuana or any drug to “any appreciable degree.”
In addition, the prosecution must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the driver had been convicted of the required number of prior offenses within the required time period.
Unfortunately, it does not help one’s chances with a jury on the current offense, if the jury is aware of the prior offenses because a jury might be unduly prejudiced by knowledge of the priors, believing that the person is guilty now simply because they did it before.
A felony DUI is a Class C offense, punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. The actual sentence is calculated by determining an “offender score,” which is based on points for certain current and prior convictions (unless the offender is a juvenile).
A conviction also results in a mandatory license revocation which is “tolled” while the offender is incarcerated. The person may be eligible for an ignition interlock driver’s license so that the offender may still drive while his or her license is revoked.
Washington State DUI laws and the courts’ decisions regarding them are always evolving. You need a DUI lawyer who creatively challenges the evidence against you, who understands the science and technology of breath and blood testing, and who has the experience to notice mistakes made by the police and prosecutors in DUI prosecutions, you need Callahan Law, P.S., Inc.
“Tough DUI Laws Require Tough DUI Lawyers”
Linda M. Callahan
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Washington State has some of the toughest DUI laws in our nation. These laws carry increasingly severe penalties for those who drink and drive. Washington lowered the BAC limit from .10 to 0.08 in January of 1999. Drivers with a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) at .08 or above can now be convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol. In addition, because public sentiment is so very negative toward drunk drivers, prosecutors will often pursue a DUI conviction even when the driver’s test result is well under .08! This is possible because they can obtain a conviction if they can show the person drove while “affected by” alcohol, and/or marijuana or any drug, including prescription or over-the-counter medications.
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