Seattle DUI Charges

“Seattle DUI Charges | WA DUI Charges”

In the state of Washington driving under the influence is a serious offense carrying mandatory jail time and fines, along with a number of other penalties including restrictions on your ability to drive.  There are three primary statute that define the crime charged in the majority of DUI cases.

In the following Revised Codes of Washington (RCW) the term drugs not only refers to only illegal narcotics but also includes prescription and over-the-counter medications that have an intoxicating effect, regardless of their legality. Having a prescription for a drug does not constitute a defense to DUI. If a doctor prescribes you drugs, you should ask what impact they may have on your ability to drive.

Driving Under the Influence – RCW 46.61.502

You can be found guilty if you are driving a vehicle in the State of Washington while:

  • Your blood alcohol level is .08 or higher up to two hours after driving; or
  • Affected by or under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug; or
  • Affected by or under the combined influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug.

Physical Control of Vehicle Under the Influence – RCW 46.61.504

You can be found guilty if you are in actual physical control of a vehicle in the State of Washington while:

  • Your blood alcohol level is .08 or higher up to two hours after being in physical control of the vehicle; or
  • Affected by or under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug; or
  • Affected by or under the combined influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug.

Note: “Actual physical control” is  a hotly debated subject, whether a person is in control of a vehicle is extremely fact specific and is a question decided by the trier of fact, most commonly a jury.

Driver Under Twenty-One Consuming Alcohol – RCW 46.61.503

You can be found guilty if you are driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle in the State of Washington while:

  • Under the age of twenty-one; and
  • Within two hours of operating or being in physical control of the vehicle has a BAC between 0.02 and 0.08.

Most DUI charges in the state of Washington are classified as a Gross Misdemeanors, and carry maximum possible sentence of 365 days in Jail and a $5000 fine. However, if the defendant has a record of vehicular assault or homicide, if there was serious bodily injury, vehicular assault, vehicular homicide as a result of the DUI, or if the suspect has four prior convictions within the last 10 years, in which case it will be considered a Class C Felony DUI and be carry to substantially higher penalties.

The law controlling DUI in Washington and Seattle in particular is extremely complex and anyone charged under any of these three statutes should contact a an attorney experienced in DUI charges to learn more.

Every case is different, nothing in this article is intended as a comment on a particular attorney’s abilities, and Findley & Rogers can make no guarantees about the resolution of a given case and nothing in this article is intended to form an attorney client relationship with you.