DUI First Offense In Washington State

In general, when a person is arrested for DUI in Washington State, there are two separate cases that arise: a criminal case with the court, and an administrative case with DOL to suspend or revoke the person’s license.

01

Unless a blood test was administered, DOL will usually “suspend” the person’s license 30 days from the date of the arrest, the same is true if DOL “revokes” the license due to the person refusing a breath or blood test. 

The arresting officer is required to give the person a notice that they have a right to a hearing to contest the suspension or revocation, HOWEVER, the request for a hearing MUST BE POSTMARKED within 7 days of the arrest (unless blood was drawn without a refusal).

02

Some courts can take several months before the person is charged and sent notice of their first court date. 

At the first court hearing, called an “arraignment”, the person pleads “not guilty” and the court imposes “conditions” upon the person while the case is pending. 

These conditions may include: posting bail or bond; not consuming alcohol, marijuana, and non-prescribed drugs; not driving under the influence; not driving without a valid license and insurance. 

What you need to know

What Happens on your first DUI?

In Washington, a first offense DUI may often be reduced to a lesser charge if you have a knowledgeable DUI lawyer negotiating for you. In most Washington State jurisdictions, prosecutors will not reduce a DUI to a lesser charge unless they believe they have a problem proving the case. This is why an experienced, and well-respected DUI lawyer is necessary to get the best result. The lawyers at Callahan Law, P.S., Inc. are knowledgeable, diligent, and go beyond the call to be sure that no stone is left unturned to find weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case.

Your license will be subject to an administrative suspension or revocation on the 30th day following your arrest.

By getting a reduction of the charge from DUI to a lesser offense, you avoid the extreme penalties of a first offense DUI Washington State, and the lesser charge may later be “expunged”. However, if you plead guilty to DUI, or are found guilty of DUI at trial, the charge will never be “expunged” from your criminal history.

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DUI First Offense, Felony or Misdemeanor?

A first DUI is usually a gross misdemeanor, not a felony. It becomes a felony if the person has ever previously been convicted of Vehicular Assault or  has four or more prior DUI’s.  A first DUI becomes a Vehicular Homicide if it results in the death of another person.

Penalties for Those 21 and Older Include:

Breath or Blood Alcohol Test Result less than .150 or No Test Result
OR
Blood Test Result w/ any drug or w/ 5 nanograms of THC or more

No Prior Offense 1 Prior Offense w/ 7 years 2 Prior Offenses w/ 7 years
Min/Max Jail Time 1 Day/ 364 days 30 days/ 364 days 90 days/ 364 days
Electronic Home Monitoring (EHM) 15 days instead of jail 60 days mandatory 120 days OR a minimum of 8 additional days jail
Min/Max Fine (fees/ assessments, not including probation fees) $990.50 / $5k $1,245.50 / $5k $2,095.50 / $5k
License Suspension/ Revocation (Day for Day Credit given for administrative suspension/ revocation) 90 days 2 year revocation 3 year revocation
Diagnostic substance use evaluation and follow recommendations. Required Expanded Evaluation Required Expanded Evaluation Required

**Ignition Interlock Device Restriction required in all cases (first IID restriction at least 1 year; 2nd IID restriction at least 5 years; 3rd at least 10 years)**

Breath or Blood Alcohol Test Result .150 or Higher or Test Refused

No Prior Offense 1 Prior Offense w/ 7 years 2 Prior Offenses w/ 7 years
Min/Max Jail Time 2 days/ 364 days 45 days/ 364 days 120 days/ 364 days
Electronic Home Monitoring (EHM) 30 days instead of jail 90 days mandatory 150 days OR a minimum of 10 additional days jail
Min/Max Fine (fees/ assessments, not including probation fees) $1,245.50 / $5k $1,670.50 / $5k $2,945.50 / $5k
License Revocation (Day for Day Credit given for administrative suspension/ revocation) 1 year/ 2 years if test refused 900 days/ 3 years if refused 4 year revocation
Obtain diagnostic substance use evaluation and follow recommendations. Required Expanded Evaluation Required Expanded Evaluation Required

**Ignition Interlock Device Restriction required in all cases (first IID restriction at least 1 year; 2nd IID restriction at least 5 years; 3rd at least 10 years)**

How a DUI can affect your everyday life

criminal record

  • 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 first DUI conviction can put a person’s career and livelihood in jeopardy 

CDL Holders, Delivery Drivers and Pilots

  • CDL Holders: A person who has a commercial driver’s license will lose their license for a year for a first offense DUI unless the court charge is reduced to a lesser offense, and the DOL hearing is won.
  • Delivery Drivers:  Even an arrest for DUI can lead to firing.  Most corporations will not insure a driver with a DUI.
  • Pilots: All but military pilots must report the arrest and conviction on their FAA Airman’s Medical Form. A DUI conviction may put a commercial pilot’s career in jeopardy.  

Other Consequences

  • Increase in the cost of insurance
  • Cancellation of insurance
  • Difficulty renting a car
  • Denial of entry to Canada for non-Canadian citizens

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.

2nd Offense DUI

3rd Offense DUI

Deferred Prosecution (DP)

Let Us Be Your Legal Advocate

Contact one of our Experienced DUI Attorneys today and get the advice you need now.  Learn how to save your license and stay out of jail.

With Offices in Seattle, Olympia, and Shelton, we literally surround the Puget Sound.

81 S. Main St, Seattle, WA 98104

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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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