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DUI: The More You Know

WA DUI Laws and Resources brought to you courtesy of Bugbee Law Office, P.S.

How Washington State BAC Limits Affect Sentencing

Man taking breathalyzer BAC Test5/10/17- Most states consider a person guilty of driving under the influence when their blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08 or higher.

Washington, however, employs a scale for their DUIs. While you will be arrested for driving under the influence if your BAC is 0.08 or higher, there is a threshold, and if you go over the threshold, you could face harsher penalties.

What is the Washington State BAC Limit?

Per RCW 46.61.502, you are driving under the influence if your BAC is 0.08 or higher or you have a THC concentration in the blood of 5.00 or greater within two hours of driving.

What Sentences Come with Higher BAC Limits?

Washington is one of the few states to use an escalation process for higher BAC results. In Washington, you are given a harsher sentence if your BAC is 0.15 or greater.

For example, a first-time offender with a BAC of 0.15 or less will face a one day to up to 364 days in jail and a fine of no less than $350. If the BAC is 0.15 or higher, the courts can impose a minimum of two days to as many as 364 days in jail with a fine of no less than $500.

A second offense with a BAC of 0.15 or less results in 30 days to as many as 364 days in jail and a fine of no less than $500. However, if the BAC is 0.15 or more, you could be sentenced to a minimum of 45 days in jail and no less than $750 in fines.

For each offense tier, the punishments increase for those with BACs over 0.15.

Can I Just Refuse the Breathalyzer Test?

Do not think that refusing a test and having no BAC on record will help you avoid a DUI conviction, let alone penalties. Under RCW 46.20.308, all drivers give implied consent. Therefore, if you refuse a test, you will be penalized not only by the criminal courts but the Department of Licensing. Your refusal will also be used against you, and if convicted, you will face the penalties of a person with a BAC of 0.15 or less.

Protect Yourself from Varying Washington State BAC Limits, Contact an Attorney

If you have been arrested for a DUI, regardless of your BAC, it is imperative you speak with a lawyer. Washington imposes harsh penalties for DUI offenders, especially repeat offenders. When your BAC is above 0.15, the state allows judges to increase your penalty, and you could spend up to one year in jail.

Contact an attorney at Bugbee Law Office, P.S. today about your DUI. Call us at 509-337-5082 for a free consultation or request a case evaluation online.


What is Deferred Prosecution for DUI in Washington?

Drunk Driving Lawyer Spokane

4/19/17- If you are charged with a DUI in Washington, and you have been diagnosed with alcohol or drug dependency, you may be eligible for a deferred prosecution of your DUI.

A deferred prosecution is an option for those who have mental health problems or drug/alcohol dependencies, but simply claiming that there is a problem is not enough. Instead, you must meet the rigid requirements and comply with all conditions to have your charges dismissed.

Eligibility Requirements for a Deferred Prosecution for DUI in Washington

To be eligible, speak with a DUI attorney. An attorney can help you complete the prosecution request, but also ensure you meet the legal requirements outlined in RCW 10.05.020.

Some requirements include:

  • You cannot have a past deferred prosecution for any crime, including a DUI. You are only allowed one deferment in a lifetime.
  • You must be diagnosed by a medical professional as alcohol dependent, suffering from mental health issues, or drug dependent.
  • You must enroll into an accredited treatment program and comply with the treatment recommendations made by the healthcare professionals overseeing your case.

Is Deferred Prosecution Right for Your DUI?

While you can avoid prosecution, it does not mean you walk out of the courtroom without consequences. Therefore, before you request deferred prosecution, you must understand the requirements and implications of this deferment.

The Consequences of a Deferred Prosecution

  • Lifetime Rule: You can only enter one deferred prosecution for a lifetime. If you are a first-time offender, most attorneys will not advise deferred prosecution.
  • Waiving Your Rights: If you request deferred prosecution, you waive your rights to go to trial. If you do not comply with the terms of the deferment, a judge can automatically find you guilty of a DUI and sentence you without the right to a trial.
  • Look Back Applies: Even if you complete a deferred prosecution, that event is still considered a prior offense for the look-back period for subsequent DUIs.
  • Abstinence is Required: You cannot drink or take any non-prescribed medications for five years if you are granted deferment.
  • Costs: You have an obligation to pay all costs of your treatment, probation, and other requirements of your deferment, such as installing and maintaining an IID.
  • Time: You must comply with the deferment, which includes a time-consuming treatment program.

Most importantly, if you are diagnosed with “chemical” dependence, RCW 10.05.150 requires that you be sent to a two-year certified treatment program through the state. You must remain in the program and comply with all treatments, such as a minimum number of recovery support group meetings, completing three phases of treatment, and more.

See if a deferred prosecution for a DUI is the right choice by consulting with an attorney from Bugbee Law Office, P.S. Call for a free case evaluation now at 509-337-5082 or request yours online.


DUI License Suspensions: Don’t Get Caught by New Deadlines

4/6/17- Most drivers are surprised to hear that they could have their driver’s license suspended just for being arrested for a DUI, even if they are not convicted.

Moreover, with the new Department of Licensing deadline changes under HB 2700, you could have your driver’s license suspended simply because you did not request your hearing within the timeframe.

If you have been arrested, contact a DUI lawyer in Washington immediately. An attorney will not only help you avoid conviction but ensure you do not have your driver’s license suspended because of a missed deadline.

What Are the New Deadlines?

The new deadlines for requesting a DOL hearing are confusing for many, and become more complicated if your suspension hearing is for a refusal to take a blood or breath test.

The basic guidelines are that:

  • For a DUI Arrest: You must request the hearing with the DOL to contest your license suspension within 20 days of the arrest. This applies to those who refused a breathalyzer test at the time of their arrest as well. The fee is $375, but this may be waived if you qualify for poverty status.
  • For a DUI Conviction: If convicted of a DUI, your driver’s license suspension starts 45 days after the conviction notice is received from the courts. You cannot request a hearing to stop the suspension, but you can attend a hearing or request an Ignition Interlock Driver License (IIL) to receive restricted license status and continue driving post-conviction.

If your driver’s license is suspended, the Department of Licensing can suspend for 90 days and up to four years. The amount of the suspension is determined by the severity of the incident and if it is your first, second, or subsequent DUI conviction.

Changes for DOL Hearings Soon to Come

Once HB 2700 takes full effect, you will no longer have 20 days to request your DOL hearing. Instead, the 20-day mark will be reduced to seven days. So, you will have only one week not only to hire a DUI lawyer in Washington but also prepare for your trial and save your driver’s license.

This is a very short timeframe for anyone to work with; therefore, it is in your best interest to retain an attorney as soon as possible for assistance with your case, and any DOL deadlines you might have missed.

For assistance with your case, contact an experienced DUI lawyer in Washington at Bugbee Law Office, P.S. Call 24/7 for a consultation at 509-337-5082 or request a case evaluation online.

How Will New Washington DUI Laws Affect You?

WA DUI Law Legislation3/27/17- House Bill 2700 brought plenty of confusion regarding Washington state alcohol laws. Also, the companion HB 2280 took away many of the positive points in HB 2700, making 2017 a year to avoid a DUI at all costs.

The Introduction of a New Sentencing Alternative

When you are convicted of a DUI, Washington drinking laws and statutes dictate the penalty. Typically, there are mandatory sentences based on the number of previous DUI offenses. Before HB 2700, a first-time offender with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) test resulting in less than 0.15 had a mandatory one day in jail. Usually, your attorney could request electronic home monitoring.

However, under HB 2700, there is an additional alternative that includes 24/7 alcohol monitoring. Therefore, you could now face:

  • One day in jail;
  • 15 days electronic monitoring at home;
  • Alternatively, 90 days at an alcohol monitoring program.

Ignition Interlock Requirements

Before HB 2700, if convicted of a DUI you would receive an exemption for an IID on an employer’s work vehicle. Back then, you could receive the exemption for 30 to 365 days after the conviction. HB 2700 eliminated that waiting period so that you could receive an exception to the IID requirement for a work vehicle.

Driver’s License Suspensions Following a DUI

Now you may be able to avoid losing your driver’s license, but only if you are a first-time DUI offender. The Department of Motor Vehicles will hold suspension if you enroll in a 24/7 program for a specific amount of time. The BAC results from your arrest dictate this program time requirement.

If, however, you refuse your test, then the Department of Motor Vehicles will automatically suspend your driver’s license for one year for the first offense, two years for the second offense, and three years for your third refusal per Washington’s Revised Code 46-20-308.

Department of Licensing Changes in 2019

In 2019, those convicted of a DUI may be subjected to a hearing from the Department of Licensing and the Department will have 30 days to hold that hearing. However, the deadline for requesting your hearing will shorten from 20 days down to seven days to compensate.

Washington Drinking Laws are Harsh, Contact a DUI Attorney Immediately

If you have been arrested for a DUI, do not let a DUI permanently tarnish your record. Instead, contact an experienced attorney from Bugbee Law Office, P.S.

Schedule your free consultation at 509-337-5082 or request an appointment online.

Call Your Spokane Attorney Today! (509) 337-5082


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