Each state sets its own parameters for penalties following a DUI conviction. Regardless of the chemical causing impairment, penalties are the same for the actual charge of DUI. Courts are not obligated to follow a policy of ordering minimum penalties, which means that each case is evaluated based on the material evidence being used to prosecute. Penalty ranges allow for Washington prosecutors to seek additional sentencing when there are aggravated circumstances such as an impairment level beyond 0.149% blood alcohol content or driving under the influence of controlled substances.
The first line of punishment associated with a DUI in Washington is a fine. The minimum fine for even a first DUI is $940 and can range upwards to $5000. The state recently enhanced this penalty due to Washington now being above the national average in impaired driving accidents.
State minimum jail time for a DUI is set at one continuous 24-hour period in jail, but this can be increased up to one year when there are aggravated circumstances. Even an impaired driving charge with a 0.08% BAC can result in enhanced jail time if a driver is involved in an accident or there is a child in the vehicle at the time of the stop. Some convicted defendants can receive an ankle monitor punishment in lieu of actual jail time.
In addition to fines and incarceration, all drivers convicted of DUI will have some length of driving privilege suspension. First-time offenders receive a 90-day suspension while those with multiple offenses can expect even longer restrictions. Additionally, there is a $375 fee for those who want to contest a license suspension with only a 20-day window to request a hearing. Those charged with a 4th DUI are prosecuted as felons and can receive a minimum of one year in jail or a maximum 5-yr probation period.