Washington State DUI Laws Even Stricter in 2014!
Washington State has had some of the toughest DUI laws in the country for a long time but they became even stricter as new rules went into play on January 1, 2014. Specific information about the DUI laws can be found at the Washington State Department of Licensing. The new rules are intended to stop repeat offenders from drinking while their case is pending in the courts. Counties will be given funding to create a “24 hour sobriety program” which will actually monitor the defendant’s alcohol intake. One tool that could be used is alcohol monitoring bracelets but another option will be to require the individual to submit to a breathalyzer or urine test at a sheriff’s office.
If you or a loved one was injured in a car crash involving a drunk driver, you may benefit from the legal guidance of an experienced car accident lawyer. He or she can help you fight for the settlement you deserve while holding the intoxicated driver accountable for their actions.
Washington’s Tough DUI Laws Include:
0.08 Legal Limit
Washington State has a .08 percent blood alcohol limit which is generally determined by a breathalyzer test taken at your vehicle.
Mandatory License Suspension
When a person is arrested for DUI, the Department of Licensing (DOL) will be notified automatically and they will act to suspend the driver’s license for 90 days if you took the test and up to one year if the person refused. This suspension occurs whether or not the driver is later proven innocent. Upon license reinstatement, the person will be required to file for high risk insurance for three years. Suspension period will be longer if the person has had a prior “administrative action” through the DOL in the past seven years. Since 2009, a person can apply for an “ignition interlock license” which means that a breathalyzer device is installed into the ignition wiring and requires a breath before the car will start and periodically while driving. This acts instead of a license suspension but these devices cost approximately $60.00 per month plus installation fees. If the person“fails” the interlock test as they are driving, the car’s lights will flash and the horn will blow. Every interlock test result is recorded in the computer and if court ordered, a printout of all the readings can be provided to the court or a probation officer on a regular basis.
- One day in jail if breath test was between 0.08 and 0.15
- Two days in jail if breath test was over 0.15 or the test was refused
- Fine of up to $5,000
- License suspension
Second Offense within Seven Years:
- If the breath test was under 0.15, thirty days in jail followed by sixty days electronic home detention
- If the breath test was 0.15 or higher or the test was refused, 45 days in jail followed by ninety days electronic home detention
- Fine of up to $5,000
- License suspension
In all cases, the court is required to keep a permanent record of the conviction.
Stiff Penalties for Probation Violations
Probation lasts for five years and includes not driving a vehicle without valid license and insurance, not driving with a blood alcohol level above 0.08, and not refusing to submit to a breath or blood test upon lawful request from a police officer. If probation is broken, the court is mandated to confine the person for thirty days. A person on probation can expect periodic reviews to test for compliance.
Electronic Home Detention
Electronic home detention (EHD) is “electronic jail” served in the home and can be imposed after a first conviction but is required on subsequent convictions. EHD devices track the person’s location and if they walk outside of the legal boundary, the computer will call to report the violation. The cost of EHD is paid for by the defendant.
Note that Washington State courts have ruled that even a successfully completed Deferred Prosecution, where the prior DUI charge was actually dismissed, will count as a prior conviction if the prior arrest occurred within seven years of the current arrest.
If you or a loved one is suffering from an injury as a result of an accident or error caused by the negligence of another, you have enough on your plate. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times bigger with the help of a lawyer. Call the personal injury lawyers at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!