In the state of Washington, a DUI charge could either be a misdemeanor or a felony. The severity of the charge will depend on the facts of the case as well as if you have been convicted of this offense in the past.
Why a DUI might be a felony charge
If you cause significant bodily injury or property damage as a result of driving while impaired, you’ll likely be charged with a felony. The same is often true if you drive under the influence of alcohol and a child is in your car. Finally, you might be charged with felony DUI if your blood alcohol level is above a certain threshold. Typically, this threshold is between .10 and .15.
You could still face serious consequences if convicted
Regardless of if you are charged with felony or misdemeanor crimes, you could face jail time, a fine or the loss of driving privileges if convicted. Additional penalties may also be levied if you fail to comply with the state’s implied consent laws. In addition to jail time or a fine, you could have your license suspended the moment that you refuse to take a Breathalyzer test. Enhanced sanctions may apply if you have violated implied laws in the past.
If you are charged with driving under the influence, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have done anything wrong. It may be possible to have the charge dropped by showing that you were the victim of an improper traffic stop. You may also be able to assert that tests used to justify taking you into custody were conducted improperly or with defective machines.