Penalties For A First Offense DUI In Washington

Being charged with a DUI in Washington is a scary ordeal, especially if you don’t know how the case may resolve. This blog post is intended to provide some guidance for those new to the criminal justice process.

A DUI is one of the few crimes charged at the misdemeanor / gross misdemeanor level that has “sentencing guidelines.” In other words, you can find where you are on a grid and see what your sentencing range will be.

The variables on the grid are (1) number of priors, and (2) the level of the blow (or refusal). The following is an except from what is commonly known as the DUI Grid. It is used in all Washington DUI cases where a person has been convicted of DUI.

If you hire a private DUI attorney to fight your case, realize that this grid will likely not apply to you. Our success rate is 96% for dismissals or reduction of charges on DUI cases.


DUI Grid 1st Offense       DUI Grid 1st Offense refusal

Mandatory Jail

As you can see, the amount of jail depends upon a person’s BAC, or if they refused the BAC test. A blow that is under a .15 has a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 1 day. If the blow is over .15, or a refusal, then the mandatory minimum is 2 days in jail.

Mandatory Fines

Fines also increase if a person’s blow is above .15, or if they refused the rest. If the blow is under .15, the fines are $990.50, if over .15, or a breath test refusal, the fines increases to a minimum of $1,245.50.

Licensing Ramifications

If you blow, the Department of Licensing will typically suspend your driver’s license for 90 days. If a person blows over a .15, the suspension is typically 1 year.

If the BAC test is offered and refused, then the suspension is typically 2 years. Keep in mind there are ways to challenge the suspension. If you would like to challenge the DOL’s license suspension, click HERE.

Mandatory Conditions of DUI Probation

Once an individual has been convicted of a DUI, certain conditions come into play.  The individual must not (1) drive without a valid license, (2) drive without liability insurance which is typically high risk or SR-22 insurance, (3) drive with an alcohol concentration over .08, or a THC concentration of over 5 ng/ml, (4) refuse to submit to a breath test when reasonably requested, (5) dive without a functioning ignition interlock device as required by DOL.

For every violation of any one of these conditions, the Court must sanction the individual to a minimum of 30 days of confinement! That is a very harsh sanction, especially for a first time offender. Additionally, the Court will order that DOL extend the individuals license suspension for 30 extra days.

There Are Better Ways To Resolve Than A Plea Of Guilty!

The purpose of this blog is to explain the penalties for a DUI when a person is found Guilty. However, we strive in all cases to avoid having our clients plead guilty.

To read about our defense strategies and how we try to resolve cases to avoid the guilty finding, click HERE.

Also, you can find a tremendous amount of DUI information in our BLOG.

If you have been arrested for DUI in Kitsap County or Thurston County (or cities within), we are here 7 days a week to answer questions. 360-792-1000 We offer a free consultation for DUI cases in the Thurston and Kitsap areas.

Ryan and Jen Witt of Witt Law Group, Kitsap County defense and personal injury lawyers

Get help now

Whether you choose to handle your case alone or engage the Witt Law Group, being informed and prepared is essential. Early involvement of an attorney can significantly impact your chances of a fair recovery, allowing you to focus on healing while we handle negotiations with insurance adjusters to secure fair compensation for your injuries.

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