DUI Q&A Series - First Time DUI in W.A. State

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What are the consequences of your first DUI in Washington State? To start, there are mandatory minimum penalties that must be imposed by the court and Department of Licensing (DOL). These penalties depend on whether you blew above or below a .15 BAC. Hiring an attorney that is skilled at battling the prosecutor's office and the DOL will help minimize the impact a DUI has on your life.


Being convicted of a DUI can be a terrifying experience. There are mandatory minimum penalties that must be imposed. If you're convicted of DUI, the judge and the prosecutor have no ability to change these mandatory minimums. They have no choice but to impose them. The judge can impose more than the mandatory minimums but can't go below them.

For a first offense DUI in Washington, assuming your breath test was below .15 BAC. The mandatory minimum penalty is one day in jail or 24 consecutive hours. If you were booked at the time of your arrest and you stayed less than 24 hours you won't get any credit for that time. You'll have to serve another day. There's an option to serve home monitoring time as opposed to a day in jail. You should talk to your lawyer about that option.

In addition, there's a mandatory minimum financial penalty of $350, to which the court will add other required costs, fees, and assessments. And, it will very quickly add up in some counties to be significantly more. In addition, you'll lose your license for 90 days. Now, this is a separate suspension from any suspension you may have faced from the DOL, although you should get day-for-day credit against it. If you're not sure how those two processes work together, click here.

Once your license is reinstated you will be required to drive with something called an ignition interlock device (IID) in your car. For a minimum of one year. You could be on probation for up to 5 years.

If your breath test was above .15 BAC, or if you refused to give a breath test, all of those mandatory minimum penalties will increase. The mandatory minimum penalties for DUI in Washington are severe. They can have a lifelong impact on you especially since a DUI conviction can never be vacated or removed from your record.

That's why it's important to make sure the attorneys you choose are skilled at battling the prosecutor's office and the Department of Licensing (DOL) to help minimize the impact on you, your family, and the rest of your life.

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