Felony DUI

Strict Enforcement

Washington State DUI Laws

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.

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How is a Felony DUI Proven?

Linda M. Callahan
Prosecution

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.

Penalties

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.

Courts

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

plan of action

know your rights

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.

Penalties

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Evidence

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License Suspension

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What are considered "Prior Offenses" for Felony DUI?
  • DUI
  • Physical Control
  • Driving or operating a commercial motor vehicle with alcohol or THC in system
  • Vehicular homicide committed while under the influence
  • Vehicular homicide committed in a reckless manner or with disregard for the safety of others if originally filed as committed while under the influence
  • Vehicular assault committed while under the influence
  • Vehicular assault committed in a reckless manner or with disregard for the safety of others if originally filed as committed while under the influence
  • Negligent driving in the first degree, if originally filed as a DUI, Physical Control, Vehicular Homicide under the influence, or Vehicular Assault under the influence
  • Reckless driving, if originally filed as a DUI, Physical Control, Vehicular Homicide under the influence or Vehicular Assault under the influence
  • Reckless endangerment, if originally filed as a DUI, Physical Control, Vehicular Homicide under the influence or Vehicular Assault under the influence
  • An out-of-state conviction for any of the above offenses if they are found to be “comparable” offenses under Washington law.
  • Operating a vessel while under the influence of alcohol, marijuana or any drug (Boating Under the influence–BUI)
  • Operating a vessel in a reckless manner if the charge was originally filed as a BUI
  • Operating an aircraft while under the influence
  • Operating an aircraft in a careless or reckless manner if the charge was originally filed as operating an aircraft under the influence
  • Operating a non-highway vehicle while under the influence
  • Operating a snowmobile as to endanger another person while under the influence
  • A deferred prosecution granted for a DUI or Physical Control
  • A deferred prosecution for Negligent Driving in the First degree, Reckless Driving, or Reckless Endangerment if originally filed as a DUI, Physical Control, or Vehicular Homicide or Vehicular Assault while under the influence
  • A deferred prosecution in another state granted for a DUI or Physical Control if the out of state program is equivalent to the Washington state program
  • A deferred sentence imposed in a prosecution for Negligent Driving in the First Degree, Reckless Driving, or Reckless Endangerment if originally filed as a DUI, Physical Control, or Vehicular Homicide or Vehicular Assault while under the influence

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Disclaimer: The legal information presented on this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice, nor the formation of a lawyer or attorney client relationship. Any results set forth herein are based upon the facts of that particular case and do not represent a promise or guarantee.  This web site is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the state of Washington.

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