DUI Penalties in Washington

A DUI can vary in scope and severity.  From a first time offense to a felony.  If you’ve been charged with DUI, you may be facing a prison sentence or a relatively minor process.  Knowing the specifics of your charge is important to avoid confusion and understand what you are realistically facing.  DUIs carry mandatory minimum sentences.  A mandatory minimum sentence means that the judge can sentence you to no less than the mandatory minimum.  The penalties are as follows:


DUI First Offense

A first DUI offense within seven years is the least serious DUI offense.  The penalty depends on the breath test result and whether it was a refusal.  Without any enhancements (refusal or high breath test), the mandatory minimum penalties are as follows:

Jail.  Minimum 24 hours jail or 15 days of electronic home monitoring.

Fine.  Minimum $350 (not counting mandatory fees and assessments)

License Suspension.  90 days.

Ignition Interlock Device.  1 year.

SR 22 Insurance.  36 months.

Enhancement for High Blow DUI (BAC above 0.15%)

There are enhanced penalties for a High Blow DUI (BAC above 0.15%).  A breath test result of 0.15% will require:

Jail.  48 hours jail or 30 days of electronic home monitoring.

Fine.  $500 (not including mandatory fees and assessments).

License Suspension.  1 year.

Ignition Interlock Requirement.  1 year.

SR 22 Insurance.  36 months.

DUI Refusal

There are enhanced penalties for a DUI Refusal.  This is where you refuse to take the breath test at the police station following advisement of the Implied Consent Warnings.  The penalties are the same as a High Blow DUI above, except that the license suspension is for a term of 2 years instead of 1.


Second Offense in Seven Years

A second offense within seven years is treated much more harshly than a first offense.  Without any penalty enhancements, the penalties require:

Jail.  The court must either sentence you to:

  1. 30 days in jail and 60 days of electronic home monitoring; or
  2. 4 days in jail and 180 days of electronic home monitoring

Fine.  $500 minimum (not counting mandatory fees and assessments).

License Suspension.  2 years.

Ignition Interlock Device.  1 year if it’s your first ignition interlock requirement or 5 years if you’ve previously been ordered to have an ignition interlock device.

Breath Test Above 0.15% BAC

Enhanced penalties are imposed for a “high blow” DUI with a breath test result above 0.15% BAC.  Those minimum penalties are

  1. 45 days jail and 90 days of electronic home confinement; or
  2. 6 days in jail and either:
    • 6 months of electronic home monitoring; or
    • 120 days of 24/7 sobriety program monitoring

The minimum fine is $750.  The conviction will also result in a 900 day license suspension.  An ignition interlock device is also required for a term of five years if an ignition interlock device as been previously been required.

DUI Refusal

If the DUI was a refusal, then the penalties are the same as a high blow DUI above, except the license suspension will be for 3 years.


Third or More DUI in Seven Years

A third DUI in Washington is treated even more harshly than a second DUI and gets you dangerously close to facing a Felony DUI if there is ever a fourth DUI.  The mandatory minimum penalties are as follows:

Jail.  90 days jail, 120 days of electronic home monitoring, and 6 months of 24/7 sobriety program monitoring (if available in county).

Fine.  $1,000.

License Suspension.  3 year revocation.

Ignition Interlock Device.  10 years (if you’ve twice before been ordered to have an ignition interlock device)

SR 22 Insurance.  36 months.

High Blow DUI (BAC above 0.15%)