Washington State DUI Penalties
DUI Defense Attorney
The consequences of a DUI arrest are more severe than ever before. A conviction could result in:
- One year in jail and a $5000 fine
- License suspension or revocation
- Alcohol treatment
- Two or more years of formal or informal probation
- The installation of an ignition interlock device on your car
Mandatory Minimum DUI Penalties in Washington State
DUI mandatory minimum penalties are determined by the Washington legislature. Judges are bound by these mandatory minimum penalties and many judges impose even harsher penalties than the minimum.
When a judge imposes a sentence for DUI, the judge will first determine if you've had any prior convictions for DUI, for vehicular assault or vehicular homicide, for first degree negligent driving, reckless driving, or reckless endangerment, a prior deferred prosecution for a DUI/physical control, or an out-of-state conviction for any of the above offenses. Prior convictions must have been within the previous seven years to have an effect on the minimum mandatory sentence.
Even though you did not have any prior convictions, if you were driving drunk with young passengers in the car, or you caused a serious accident, the judge may impose a sentence that exceeds the minimum.
- See the Washington DUI Penalties and Sanctions Chart
Plea Bargaining a DUI Penalty
Every DUI has facts that support a defendant's innocence. The fact that you may have consumed alcohol prior to driving does not mean you were impaired. Though not advisable, it is not illegal to consume alcohol and drive. The more questions the facts raise, the more likely a plea bargain can be made with the prosecutor.
The typical DUI case will begin with a traffic stop. At the car's window, an officer detects alcohol. An officer then requests a field test, followed by an arrest, a drive to a police station and a request to blow into a machine. This DUI arrest presents a number of legal challenges:
- Was the officer's stop of the vehicle valid?
- Did the officer have objective evidence to investigate for DUI?
- Did the officer get valid consent to perform a "voluntary" field tests?
- Were the field tests conducted according to the standards identified in the training manual?
- Did the officer follow proper procedure using the Portable Breath Test (PBT)?
- Prior to administering the breath test, did the officer follow the protocols of the Washington Administrative Code (WAC) 448-16 for breath testing, allowing a fifteen-minute observation period prior to blowing into the machine?
- Did the officer have an objective basis to make an arrest?
- At the time of the arrest, did the officer inform the driver of his/her right to an attorney? (CRLJ 3.1)
The more difficult a case is for a prosecutor to prove, the more likely Seattle DUI lawyer Steve Karimi can obtain a reduction in the charge by plea bargaining for a lesser offense (for example, negotiating for negligent driving rather than DUI, which eliminates the mandatory DUI penalty of jail). In many cases, a negotiated plea may be more favorable than going to trial.
"Let My Extensive Experience as a Former Prosecutor Work For You."
Seattle DUI lawyer Steve Karimi has built a sold track record of success by bargaining for his clients. Seattle DUI defense lawyer Steve Karimi knows how the system works and, more importantly, he knows how to obtain results.
If you were arrested for drunk driving and have a DUI charge filed against you, call 206-621-8777 or 24-hours 206-660-6200 or contact our Seattle law office by email. You'll get a criminal defense attorney who will do whatever it takes to get a favorable outcome.
Representing people charged with DUI offenses in King County, Washington state, including Seattle, Bellevue, Everett and Snohomish.