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Washington State DUI Laws

This page is about the basics of DUI laws in Washington State. For more details about your DUI please consult our Washington State DUI lawyer.

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Washington State DUI Laws

 washington-state-dui-laws-washington-state-dui-overview

Washington State DUI Overview

Every state has laws to regulate drunk driving. The crime of driving drunk has different names depending on the state where you live. In some states, the crime of drunk driving is known as Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). In other states it is known as Driving Under the Influence (DUI). Some states call it Operating Under the Influence (OUI). In Washington State, the crime of drunk driving is known as Driving Under the Influence or DUI.

Whatever the term, it is a crime and every state takes their drunk driving laws seriously. Washington State DUI laws are among the most strict drunk driving laws in the nation. Washington State DUI laws carry heavy penalties, and the trend is toward even tougher legislation.

Washington State DUI laws can essentially be broken down into three types of drunk driving laws.

  • Per Se. Under the Washington State DUI laws, it is a crime to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 08% or higher, or THC concentration of 5.00 or higher. This Washington State DUI law is known as the “Per Se” DUI among Washington State DUI lawyers.
  • Driving Under the Influence. A driver can be convicted of DUI if the driver was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Under Washington State DUI laws a driver can be arrested and convicted of DUI even if the driver’s BAC is below .08%.
  • Felony DUI. Under Washington State DUI laws, certain type of DUI-related crimes can be charged as felonies. Felonies are serious crimes that usually result in prison sentences.

WASHINGTON TAKES DUI LAWS VERY SERIOUSLY. SPEAK TO A WASHINGTON STATE DUI LAWYER TODAY AT (206) 771-4343

Digging Deeper into Washington State DUI Laws

Per Se DUI Law

Under Washington State DUI laws, a person does not have to be drunk to be charged and convicted of a DUI. A person simply cannot drive with a BAC of .08% or higher, or a THC concentration of 5.00 or higher.

To find a person guilty of Per Se DUI under Washington State DUI laws, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt, that on or about a certain date, the person drove a motor vehicle within the state while: 

  • having, within two hours after driving, an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher, as shown by analysis of your breath or blood made under RCW 46.61.506; or
  • having, within two hours after driving, a THC concentration of 5.00 or higher as shown by analysis of your blood made under RCW 46.61.506.

For more detail on elements of Washington State DUI Law, please see RCW 46.61.502.

TO DISCUSS YOUR PER SE DUI WITH A WASHINGTON STATE DUI LAWYER CALL US AT (206) 771-4343

Driving Under the Influence DUI Law

Washington State DUI laws prohibit people from driving under the influence of alcohol or drug or under the combined influence of alcohol and drug.

To prove a person is guilty of the offense of driving under the influence, the following elements must be proven:

  • under the influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor, marijuana, or any drug; or
  • under the combined influence of, or affected by, intoxicating liquor, marijuana, and any drug.

As you can tell from reading the language of the DUI statute above, under Washington State DUI laws, you could be found guilty of DUI even if your blood alcohol content and THC concentration are below the legal limit.

In cases where there is no breath or blood concentration, but there is other evidence of impairment, the prosecutor might proceed under the “affected by” prongs of the Washington DUI laws. In such case, the prosecutor will rely on other evidence to obtain a conviction.

Therefore, it is always a good idea not to perform the field sobriety tests. The field sobriety tests are voluntary under Washington State DUI laws and it is your right to refuse to perform them.

IF YOU HAVE BEEN ARRESTED FOR DUI, YOU NEED A WASHINGTON STATE DUI LAWYER. CALL US AT (206) 771-4343

Felony DUI Law

Washington State DUI laws treat most DUI offenses as gross misdemeanors. However, under certain circumstances, a DUI can be charged as a felony. Felony DUI charges are far more serious than regular DUI charges and you would be wise to retain an experienced Washington State DUI lawyer.

Whether a driver is charged with a felony DUI will depends on the number of prior convictions of DUI. A person may also be charged with felony DUI if he or she killed or injured another person while meeting the elements of DUI discussed above.

Washington State DUI laws allow for heavy penalties for a felony DUI conviction. People convicted of felonies are prohibited from owning firearms. In addition, a felon may not be eligible to work for a school, government agency, or a company that deals with classified information.

IF YOU ARE FACING FELONY DUI CHARGE, YOU SHOULD SPEAK TO A WASHINGTON STATE DUI LAWYER RIGHT AWAY. OUR NUMBER IS (206) 771-4343