On Thursday, March 31, Governor Jay Inslee signed a bill increasing the severity of felony-level Washington DUI penalties. The new maximum fine for a DUI felony is $20,000, and offenders may spend up to 10 years in jail. This is double the fine amount and jail time in Washington currently, which is a maximum $10,000 fine and five years in prison.
It is clear that the entire state, Spokane included, takes driving while under the influence seriously. The current process following a DUI is expensive and stressful, and new bills seek harsher penalties.
Penalties for Driving Under the Influence
In 2014 alone, 26,952 arrests for driving under the influence were made in Washington, as reported by the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility. The state considers the fifth DUI conviction for an individual within seven years a Class C Felony. A first conviction alone may have a fine of up to $5,000.
However, convictions fines are not the only fines paid for Washington DUI penalties. It varies based on previous convictions and circumstances, but offenders may face separate penalties for:
- The initial arrest;
- The conviction; and,
- Department of Licensing penalties.
The costs of a DUI alone make it imperative to have an attorney throughout the process, but the penalties do not stop at fines alone.
Ignition Interlock Devices
Washington residents convicted of a DUI can expect to need an ignition interlock device (IID) installed in their vehicle. This device must be blown into before the vehicle will start, and it will not start if the driver's blood alcohol content is registered as .025 or greater.
These devices come with fees and costs of their own, and must remain in use for a minimum of one year for first time offenders. However, second offenses face a more severe term of five years for IID use, and the penalty only increases from there.
Dealing with a DUI
Getting a DUI is a stressful event, and many offenders have underlying causes for driving under the influence. Alcoholism, depression, and many other factors influence individuals who normally obey the law to find themselves in trouble, such as an arrest with a DUI. It is important in these situations to seek help not only from an emotional and mental standpoint, but from a legal standpoint.
An experienced DUI attorney will thoroughly examine all details of a case and attempt to minimize penalties and sentences where possible. But without an attorney, offenders can expect heavy fines, heavy penalties, and jail time. It is important to have legal representation, especially in Spokane, Washington DUI cases.
Reviewing Washington DUI Penalties with a Spokane DUI Attorney
West Law Office provides quality, tailored legal services to every client. Our practice areas include DUIs and related criminal traffic misdemeanors, as well as auto accidents and personal injury. The value of a knowledgeable attorney when dealing with Washington DUI penalties is immeasurable.
When it comes to DUI offenses, whether it is a first time offenses or third time offense, contact us online or via phone at 509-993-0748 for professional representation. We also offer free consultations, helping you achieve the best outcome in your case.