Washington State DUI Laws & Penalties

Washington DUI law section 46.61.502 states that it is against the law for any person to drive a motor vehicle in the state of Washington while they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs with a blood alcohol concentration level of .08% or greater.

It is not necessary for a person who has been stopped on suspicion of driving under the influence to display the signs one would typically associate with someone who is under the influence.  Just the fact that a chemical test shows a blood alcohol concentration level of .08% or greater will get you arrested for DUI in the state of Washington.



It should also be noted that a person could still be arrested for driving under the influence in the state of Washington even if their blood alcohol concentration level is below the legal limit of .08% just by displaying signs that are consistent with a person who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

When an officer stops someone on suspicion of DUI in Washington State, the officer is already starting to build a case against that person by observing their driving patterns prior to initiating the DUI stop.  If the officer has established reasonable grounds and suspects that someone is under the influence, the officer is going to request that the individual perform some field sobriety test (it is not required by law that you submit to the field sobriety tests. If an officer asks you to take the field sobriety test, just kindly refuse his request).

Washington Administrative Hearing Process

When you are arrested for DUI in Washington state you only have 20 days from the date of your arrest to request an administrative hearing or review if you wish to challenge the suspension of your driver's license.  There are two different process, one is called a review and the other is a hearing.  There is also a $200 fee for requesting a hearing.

When you make your request for a hearing make sure you get an administrative hearingand not just an administrative review.  The state of Washington typically schedules a person who has been suspended because of a DUI violation with an administrative hearing, but you should always verify that it is a hearing and not a review.

At the hearing a hearing officer is going to review all of the evidence presented by the arresting officer and hear testimony from the officer, under oath.  The hearing officer will then review any evidence presented by you and your lawyer in your defense and hearing testimony from you and/or your lawyer and any witnesses your lawyer had subpoenaed to appear in your case.

It is the hearing officer's job to:

  • Make sure that the arresting officer followed proper procedures while placing you under arrest.
  • Determine whether or not the arresting officer established probable cause that you were in fact driving under the influence.
  • Did the arresting officer advise you of the implied consent law warnings.
  • Whether or not you submitted to or refused a chemical test.
  • If you submitted to a chemical test were the results of the test above the legal limit.
  • Was the chemical test administered according to the standards set by the State of Washington for a chemical test.

After reviewing all of the evidence and hearing all the testimony the administrative hearing officer will determine whether or not the officer's suspension of your driver's license was justified and should be upheld or whether the suspension of your license should be dismissed and your license returned to you.

It should be noted that an Administrative Hearing can be quite intimidating for anyone who is not familiar with the process and in order for you to hopefully have a successful outcome at your hearing it is strongly recommend that you hire a Washington DUI lawyer who has experience when it comes to representing clients at these hearings.

Trying to navigate an administrative hearing on your own to try and save your driving privilege will be like throwing the $200 fee to request the hearing down the drain.  A DUI lawyer who has experience when it comes to representing clients at administrative hearings will charge between $400 and $500 for his services.

Washington First Offense DUI

A first offense DUI conviction in the State of Washington is a Misdemeanor offense and carries the following penalties:

  • Jail time: The mandatory minimum jail sentence for BAC of less than .15% is 24 hours up to 364 days. The minimum sentence goes up to 48 hours for a BAC greater than .15% or a test refusal.

    An additional 24 hours is added on if a minor under 16 was in the vehicle.
  • Fines: The mandatory minimum fine amount is $940.50 up to $5,000 max. plus court costs.

  • Probation: A first offense will result in a period of probation of 2 - 5 years.

  • Test refusal: A first refusal will result in a 1 year license revocation.

  • Ignition interlock: An ignition interlock will be required for 1 year after license reinstatement.

  • License suspension: Your license will be suspended for 90 days following a first offense.  You may be eligible for an Occupational License after the first 30 days of your suspension period has passed with the use of an interlock device. Before the Washington State Department of Licensing will reinstate your license following your suspension period or issue you an Occupational License or Restricted license you will be required to show proof of financial responsibility in the form of a Washington SR22 insurance policy that meets the states minimum auto insurance liability coverage limits.  You will also have to pay a license reinstatement fee to the DOL.

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Washington Second Offense DUI

A second offense or two offenses within a 7 year period in the State of Washington is a Gross Misdemeanor offense and carries the following penalties:

  • Jail time: A second offense conviction may result in a minimum of 30 days in jail up to a maximum of 364 days in jail depending upon the circumstances surrounding your case.

    An additional 5 days is added on if a minor under 16 was in the vehicle.
  • Fines: The mandatory minimum fine amount is $1,195.50 up to $5,000 plus all associated court costs.

  • Probation: A second offense will result in a period of probation of at least 5 years.

  • DUI evaluation: You may be required to attend a state approved alcohol evaluation and treatment program.

  • Test refusal: A second refusal will result in a 2 year license revocation.

  • Ignition interlock: An ignition interlock will be required for 5 years after license reinstatement.

  • License revocation: Your license will be revoked for 2 years if your BAC was less than .15% and for 3 years if BAC was .15% or greater, or you refused the chemical test following a second offense. Before the Washington State Department of Licensing will reinstate your license following your suspension period you will be required to show proof of financial responsibility in the form of a Washington SR22 insurance policy that meets the states minimum auto insurance liability coverage limits.  You will also have to pay a license reinstatement fee to the DOL.

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Washington Third Offense DUI

A third offense within a 7 year period in the State of Washington carries the following penalties:

  • Jail time: A third offense conviction may result in a minimum of 90 days in jail up to a maximum of 364 days in jail depending upon the circumstances surrounding your case.

    An additional 5 days is added on if a minor under 16 was in the vehicle.

  • Fines:  The mandatory minimum fine amount is $2,045.50 up to $5,000 plus all associated court costs.

  • Probation: A third offense will result in a period of probation of at least 5 years.

  • DUI evaluation: You may be required to attend a state approved alcohol evaluation and treatment program.

  • Test refusal: A third refusal will result in a 2 year license revocation.

  • Ignition interlock: An ignition interlock will be required for 10 years after license reinstatement.

  • License revocation: Your license will be revoked for 3 years if your BAC was less than .15% and for 4 years if BAC was .15% or greater, or you refused the chemical test following a second offense. Before the Washington State Department of Licensing will reinstate your license following your revocation period you will be required to show proof of financial responsibility in the form of a Washington SR22 policy that meets the states minimum auto insurance liability coverage limits.  You will also have to pay a license reinstatement fee to the DOL.

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Washington State CDL DUI Laws

A person operating a commercial motor vehicle in the state of Washington while under the influence of alcohol, drugs or an intoxicant with a blood alcohol concentration of .04% or greater or failing to submit to a chemical test is in violation of the state's laws regarding CDL's and will be arrested for DUI and your CDL will be revoked for a period of 1-year following a first offense violation.  A second CDL DUI offense will result in your CDL being revoked for life.

If you were carrying hazardous materials at the time, your CDL will be revoked for 3-years. A second offense violation while carrying hazardous materials will result in a permanent CDL revocation, you will never be able to drive or operate a CMV again.  A CMV operator stopped and found to have any measurable amount of alcohol less than .04% in their system will be issued an "out-of-service" notice and will not be allowed to drive for the next 24-hours.

Washington DUI Under 21 Years of Age

In Washington State if you are under the age of 21 and stopped by an officer and found to have been drinking and driving with a blood alcohol concentration of .02% - .08% your license will be suspended for at least 90 days.



If you are under 21 and are arrested for having a BAC level of .08% or greater you will be facing the same fines and penalties as someone over 21 would face for the same offense.

You will also be required to show proof of financial responsibility in the form of an SR22 insurance policy before the Department of Licensing will reinstate your license.

Washington SR22 Requirements

Before the Washington Department of Licensing will reinstate your license following your suspension period, they will require you to file an SR22 form with them before issuing you a new license. You will be required to carry your SR22 insurance for a period of 3-years.

At anytime during this 3-year period if there is a lapse in your Washington SR22 insurance coverage, your insurance provider is obligated by law to immediately inform the Washington Department of Licensing of the lapse.  If a lapse in coverage occurs, the Washington DOL will immediately revoke your license and you will be required to re-file an SR22 form with the DOL before they will issue you another license.

Since you are going to have to have your SR22 insurance for a period of 3-years, it is important to find the cheapest policy you can before choosing one.  DUI Process has partnered with the largest and most trusted SR22 insurance provider in the state of Washington and has worked out a special discount only available here for our website visitors.

You won't be able to find a SR22 insurance policy in Washington for any less.Type in your zip code below so we can provide you with the cheapest rates in your area.

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Other Washington DUI Resources

  • Washington First Offense DUI - First offense information including penalties, fines, potential jail time, license suspension, DUI classes, and much more.

  • Washington SR22 Insurance Filing - We have compiled everything you need to know about Washington SR22 insurance and filing requirements including important addresses, phone numbers, etc.

  • Washington State Alcohol Assessment Education - We offer a complete listing of state approved DUI programs listed by County.

  • Washington Bail Bondsmen - Comprehensive list of Washington State bail bond agents including address, phone, website, etc.