Statistics show that 25% of fatal crashes involve alcohol, so Washington has enacted strict laws regarding those who drive under the influence of alcohol. A driver charged with DUI in Yakima could face stiff penalties.
Overview of Washington DUI laws
In this state, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances. A driver can get charged for having a BAC, or blood alcohol content, of 0.08 or a THC content, the main component in marijuana, of 0.05.
A DUI charge based on BAC is called per se, meaning it is enough proof to charge the driver without further evidence needed. However, the driver doesn’t need to meet the minimum BAC or THC content to get charged with DUI if the officer has a suspicion that the driver is too impaired to drive. The officer’s observations or the driver’s performance on sobriety test could be enough to get them arrested.
Washington DUI penalties
The penalties depend on the driver’s circumstances and prior convictions in the last seven years. First-time offenses with a BAC of 0.08 are typically charged as gross misdemeanors in Washington. The penalties for a first offense are a $350-5,000 fine, a 90-day to two-year license suspension and 24 hours to one year in jail.
Penalties for a second offense include 30 to 364 consecutive days in jail, a fine of $500 to $5,000 and up to a two-year license suspension. For a third offense, a driver could face 90 to 364 days in jail, $1,000 to $5,000 in fines and a three-year license suspension. In some cases, a driver may choose at-home monitoring or the 24/7 sobriety program instead of jail.
Penalties could increase even for first offenses if the driver caused bodily injury or death or had a minor in the vehicle. A driver accused of any DUI charge may want a defense team to help them fight the charges and avoid the harshest penalties.