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Three Things to Know About the DUI Laws for Washington State

By April 29, 2024May 16th, 2024No Comments4 min read

Driving under the influence is not an offense to be taken lightly. And if you’ve been charged with a DUI in Kitsap County, it’s imperative to have an experienced DUI attorney on your side who is committed to safeguarding your rights. 

A DUI lawyer can help with any and all DUI-related issues, including:

  • Ignition interlock devices in cars
  • Blood tests and breathalyzer tests
  • Field sobriety tests
  • License suspension
  • License revocation
  • License reinstatement

In this blog, the team of DUI attorneys at LaCross & Murphy, PLLC in Port Orchard, Washington break down three important facts you should know about DUI laws in our state and provide you with resources to use if you need a DUI Lawyer in Kitsap County. 

1. What constitutes “driving under the influence?

A DUI can apply to anyone operating a vehicle while impaired by alcohol, marijuana or other substances, legal or illegal. General thresholds are a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher with liquor or blood concentration of 5 or higher with THC.

If your BAC test registers a level lower than 0.08, you’re not necessarily off the hook. Police can still charge you with a DUI if they suspect you’re under the influence. In addition, you automatically receive a one-year suspension of your driver’s license if you refuse to take a BAC test.

In Washington, driving under the influence goes beyond operating a vehicle while under the influence of a certain substance. In 2017, the state passed an E-DUI law banning the use of hand-held devices while driving, regardless of whether the vehicle is stationary at a stop sign or red light. While they can be significant, the penalties of being charged with an E-DUI are drastically less harsh than a traditional DUI charge. 

2. What are DUI sentencing provisions?

Washington State enforces a grid approach to DUI sentencing dependent on two main factors: whether there has been a prior offense and what the offender’s BAC was.

  • First-time offenders are subject to mandatory jail time. If the offender’s BAC was less than .15, they must serve mandatory jail time of 24 hours; however, this can be forgone by a minimum of 15 days of electric home monitoring. If the offender’s BAC was at least .15 or there was a test refusal, the mandatory jail time increases to a minimum of 2 consecutive days, or at least 30 days of electronic home monitoring.

Sentencing includes up to $5,000 in fines, up to a year suspension of driver’s license, up to one year in jail, and mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device.

  • For a second DUI, punishment is the same with up to a three-year suspension of driver’s license.
  • With multiple DUIs, sentencing includes up to a four-year suspension of driver’s license.

3. What is deferred prosecution?

If you have struggled with substance abuse, you may be eligible to petition the court for something called deferred prosecution, which ultimately, can lead to DUI charges being dismissed if certain conditions are met. 

With the assistance of a DUI lawyer in Kitsap County Washington, you can petition the court for permission to enter a treatment program instead of receiving a standard sentence. Upon successful completion of treatment, charges can be dismissed after five years provided you don’t violate the court order.

The law encourages people with addiction or mental health issues to seek help.

Contact a Port Orchard, Washington DUI Attorney

Whether you’re facing a first offense or dealing with multiple DUI charges, having a knowledgeable DUI attorney by your side can make all the difference. If you find yourself in need of legal assistance after being charged with a DUI in Kitsap County, Washington, don’t hesitate to contact the dedicated team at LaCross & Murphy, PLLC.