Driving under the influence presents a serious public safety risk. Due to the nature of this dangerous offense, Washington state DUI laws impose serious penalties for convicted DUI offenders. These penalties are especially severe if an offender’s record shows prior offenses. Such crimes would be taken into account if they occurred within the last seven years.
According to Washington state law, an adult driver over the age of 21 is considered to be under the influence if they present a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or higher. This is reduced to 0.04 for commercial drivers, and to 0.02 for drivers under the age of 21. Under the state’s new marijuana guidelines, a THC level of 5.00 or higher is also considered impairing to one’s ability to operate a vehicle safely.
Depending on the number and severity of accumulated convictions, the penalties for further DUI conviction may include up to one year’s incarceration. There is also the potential for as much as $5,000 in fines. Either of these penalties pales in comparison, however, to the inconvenience of losing one’s driving privileges.
After a third conviction within a seven-year period, an offender faces a mandatory suspension of their driver’s license for three to four years. Even a single conviction is enough to suspend one’s license for a minimum of 90 days. This restriction, coupled with the requirement that an Ignition Interlock Device be used for a period after one’s license is reinstated, can make finding and retaining employment difficult.
The device can have a severe impact on one’s personal life. Many individuals also find the IID to be an embarrassing reminder of their legal woes. With a single DUI conviction under one’s belt, the IID must remain in place for one year following license reinstatement. A third conviction inside of seven years mandates the use of an IID for a full ten years following license reinstatement.
If you have been accused of driving under the influence in Seattle, you require the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. An experienced Seattle DUI attorney can offer helpful advice on what to do to fight these charges effectively, reducing your chances of conviction. They can also help to ensure that you receive the minimum penalties if convicted, saving you months of time in prison and thousands of dollars in fines. Don’t let a wrongful DUI conviction interfere with your personal and professional life for decades to come!