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Penalties for a first DUI in Washington State

On Behalf of | Oct 3, 2023 | Criminal Defense

Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs is a serious offense in all 50 U.S. states, including Washington. Those caught and convicted of a DUI for the first time may face various penalties.

Knowing the potential penalties is important because being arrested and charged with a DUI can be overwhelming. 

License suspension

One of the immediate consequences of a first-time DUI conviction is having your driver’s license suspended. Depending on the case’s specifics and the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC), a first-time offender may face a suspension for 90 days.

Monetary fines

Financial penalties are another potential consequence of a DUI. A first-time DUI offender can expect to pay fines ranging from $940 to $5,000, plus court costs. The court will determine the exact amount depending on the offense’s severity and the BAC level.

Jail time

Though it’s a first offense, jail time is still a possibility. First-time offenders can face 24 hours to 364 days in jail if their BAC is .15% or less. The minimum sentence increases to 48 hours if the person’s BAC is over .15% or if they refuse to take a test. 

Mandatory alcohol education

First-time DUI offenders may be ordered to attend and successfully complete an alcohol education or treatment program. This aims to prevent future offenses by educating drivers about the dangers of impaired driving.

Ignition interlock device (IID)

After a first DUI conviction, drivers may be required to install an IID in their vehicle for at least one year after their license is reinstated. This device prevents the vehicle from starting unless the driver provides a breath sample below the preset blood alcohol limit.

A first-time DUI conviction in Washington state has severe penalties to deter future offenses. It’s crucial for drivers to be informed and make responsible choices to avoid these consequences and ensure the safety of themselves and others on the road. Knowing the legal options and potential penalties benefits those facing these charges.