DUI in Washington
A Driving Under the Influence charge is based on the driver being actually impaired by an intoxicating substance including alcohol and marijuana or a combination thereof. In making the decision to make a DUI arrest, police may use their observations of your behavior and demeanor, the breathalyzer test, field sobriety tests as well as blood tests to determine if you are impaired by alcohol and the actual Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) level that is present.
Blood Alcohol Content from a Breathalyzer or Blood Test
In Washington, as in most states, a BAC of .08% or more is grounds for a DUI charge. Under certain circumstances, a lower BAC may be sufficient for a DUI; drivers of commercial vehicles can be charged if their BAC is .04% or more and a person under 21 can be charged for a BAC of .02%. It is also possible to face a DUI charge for lesser amounts of alcohol if the officer finds that you are impaired while operating or being in control of a vehicle. The legal limit for marijuana is 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood as determined by a blood test.
Penalties for Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) in Washington
The penalties in DUI cases vary depending on how many prior offenses you have and your level of intoxication as determined by a breathalyzer test. In cases with a BAC less than .15% where there are no prior convictions within the past 7 years, the court will impose a fine of $350 to $5000, one to 364 days in jail and a 90 day license suspension. If the BAC is .15% or more, the courts will impose harsher penalties: 2 to 364 days in jail, a fine ranging from $500 to $5000 and driver’s license suspension of one year.
It is also important to note that when you are arrested for a DUI in Washington, you will be dealing with two separate cases. One case will be in criminal court and one will be with the Department of Licensing (DOL). The DOL will suspend your license after your arrest and you have the option to request an administrative hearing on the suspension.
There are many defenses to DUI charges. An experienced DUI lawyer can challenge the probable cause for the traffic stop, the accuracy of the testing equipment and the proper administration of the field sobriety tests among other legal defenses. This will require documents to be subpoenaed and a solid understanding of the procedure and science in DUI arrests and testing. If you have questions about your DUI charges, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (253) 236- 4079.