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.  There is no substitute for consulting with an experienced DUI lawyer about your case. But it helps to know the basics of what you are facing.  The basic 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%)