A driving under the influence (DUI) charge is no laughing matter. You face many serious punishments and penalties as a result. Along with the legal ramifications, this charge also affects you personally and professionally.
Understanding what you are up against is the first step towards preserving your rights. The Washington State Department of Licensing explains DUI penalties and other information you must know if you are facing drunk driving charges.
DUI and blood alcohol concentration (BAC)
Drivers aged 21 and over will receive a DUI charge when driving with a BAC of .08% or higher. The legal limit for drivers younger than 21 is .02%. If you have a commercial driver’s license, the legal limit is .04%.
While BAC plays a significant role in DUI arrests, it is not the only consideration. If a driver exhibits behaviors indicating they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, DUI charges also apply. This usually entails unsafe behaviors behind the wheel, such as swerving or failing to stop at a red light.
License suspension and restriction
License suspension after DUI occurs at two different levels. License suspension automatically occurs when arrested, and can range from 90 days to two years. You can request a hearing to dispute suspension, but it must take place within seven days of the arrest. If convicted of the crime, the suspension period ranges from 90 days to four years.
You can also request a restricted license instead of suspension. License restriction involves driving with an ignition interlock device, which requires a breath test before the vehicle will start.
You must also undergo an alcohol assessment if convicted of DUI. If you have a substance abuse problem, you must undergo treatment. If you fail to complete treatment, you might receive further penalties.
DUI cases are not always cut and dried. By understanding common penalties and punishments, you have a better chance of identifying violations and errors regarding your rights.