Are you facing a DUI charge in Washington State? If so, understanding the legislation and laws related to DUIs can be helpful in navigating your situation. In fact, these laws have changed significantly in recent years, making it even more important to be informed. As your local DUI attorney, I want to help you stay informed. This blog post will provide an overview of the current sentencing rules for first-offense DUI convictions in Washington State as of 2023. We’ll look at everything from jail times and fines to license suspension and probationary periods. Being familiar with this information is important if you or someone you know has been arrested for driving under the influence so that you can understand what penalties are possible for a conviction. Read on for more details about our state’s regulations regarding first-offense DUIs from 2023 onward.
What Happens for a First DUI in Washington State in 2023?
If you have been accused of a DUI in Washington, you might be wondering what penalties come with a conviction. For many people, getting arrested for a DUI is a very new and intimidating experience. You might be wondering what would happen if you were found guilty. This article will help to explain what you can expect from a first-time DUI conviction in Washington state in 2023.
Washington classifies Driving Under the Influence as a gross misdemeanor. This means that the maximum penalty is 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine. Washington also has minimum penalties associated with this charge. The minimum penalty for a first-time DUI depends on the particular facts of your case. A DUI in Washington carries mandatory jail time, a mandatory license suspension, mandatory counseling and court costs.
Do not plead guilty to a DUI without first speaking to a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney. A good DUI lawyer will know how to examine your case with an eye toward getting the best result. Our office has successfully argued thousands of cases. We have forced dismissals and advocated for reduced charges for countless clients and may be able to assist you. If we cannot reduce the DUI charge to a Reckless Driving or a Negligent Driving resolution, then we can advocate getting your case towards the minimum penalty. What is that minimum penalty?
BAC Under .15, No Breath Test Offered, or Drug DUI
If you blew over the legal limit, but your BAC was under a .15, or if you were arrested for a DUI, but no breath test was offered at the station, or if you were arrested for driving under the influence of drugs, then Washington carries a minimum penalty of 24 consecutive hours in custody. In lieu of 24 hours in custody, the judge does have the discretion to impose a sentence of 15 days of house arrest. If sentenced to the alternative house arrest, you may likely still be able to go to work, to school, go grocery shopping, church, or pick up/drop off your kids at school.
BAC Above .15, or BAC Test Refusal
If you submitted to a breath test and your BAC was above a .15, or if you refused a BAC test, then the minimum penalty is 48 consecutive hours in custody. In lieu of this time spent in custody, the court has the discretion to sentence you to 30 days of electronic home confinement.
Will My License Be Suspended From a DUI Conviction?
The Washington Department of Licensing will suspend your license for a DUI conviction. At a minimum, you can expect a 90-day license suspension from a first-time DUI conviction. However, the length of the suspension varies depending on several factors and could be longer than 90 days. Generally speaking, this is what you might expect from the DOL for a first-time DUI conviction.
- BAC below .15, no BAC test, or Drug DUI – 90-day suspension
- BAC above .15 – 1 year suspension
- Refusal of BAC test – 2-year suspension
Contact our office for more information. We can provide you with hand-tailored advice to your particular driver’s license.
Will I Be on Probation for a DUI?
In Washington, probation for a DUI is up to 5 years. How much time you spend on probation is determined on a case-by-case basis. It also depends on the jurisdiction. For example, prosecutors in Clark County typically request 5 years of probation for a DUI. In other counties, probation only lasts two years. During the time you are on probation for a DUI, it is very important to strictly follow the probation rules because the judge does have the power to take someone into custody for non-compliance. Probation generally requires a defendant to stay out of trouble, to take court classes and to take care of any licensing issues.
Probation Conditions – Mandatory 30-Day Penalty
While on probation, it is very important to adhere to the court’s driving requirements. The judge will explain to you that in order to drive, you must strictly obey these five things:
- Maintain an ignition interlock device in the car you are driving per DOL requirements
- Maintain SR 22 insurance per DOL requirements
- Maintain a valid license per DOL requirements
- Do not refuse a BAC or blood test if an officer has reasonable grounds to request it from you
- Do not drive when your BAC is above .08, or your blood is above 5 ng/mL
A violation of any of these things results in the judge sentencing you to a mandatory 30-day confinement penalty for violation.
If you are accused of a first-time DUI in Washington, understanding the consequences of a conviction in 2023 is important to resolving your case. Your attorney may be able to negotiate for a reduced charge. If your attorney cannot negotiate for a reduced charge, then your attorney should try to argue for the minimum penalty associated with the case. This could include a mandatory 1-2 days of jail or 15-30 days of house arrest in lieu of jail. A conviction carries a license suspension with strict requirements whose violations could result in strict penalties while on probation.
Your Local Criminal Defense Lawyer
Any attorney you hire should make sure that your case resolves as smoothly as possible. Our office, Carley Legal, has several years of experience in assisting clients. We understand that each case is unique, and we handcraft a defense action plan to ensure that you receive the best possible outcome. Call us for a free initial consultation. We would be happy to discuss your case with you.