Most people know little about criminal law and the statutes of the state. Unfortunately, this leads people to believe that criminal law is a straightforward process, but that's not the case. Today, we will look at factors that can impact the severity of driving while under the influence (DUI) charges and penalties.
Simple First-Time DUI
A simple first-time DUI is a situation where a driver is accused of a DUI charge without having a prior conviction. A simple first-time DUI charge is less serious than other DUI charges, but the penalties are still stiff.
If a Washington driver is convicted for a first-time driving a vehicle while under the influence charge, he can expect the following punishments:
- Minimum of 24 consecutive hours in jail, a maximum of less than a year in jail; or
- 15 days of electronic home monitoring; or
- 90-day period of 24/7 sobriety program monitoring; and
- Minimum $990.50 fine, maximum of $5,000 (if the accused is not poor); and
- 90-day driver's license suspension.
Simple DUI penalties can increase if the circumstances of the DUI include one of the following:
- The driver has a passenger that was under 16;
- The driver has an extremely high blood alcohol content (BAC);
- The driver has prior DUI convictions.
Passenger Under the Age of 16
If someone receives a DUI charge while driving with a passenger who is under the age of 16, he will likely face more severe penalties for a criminal conviction. This is because driving while intoxicated with someone who is under the age of 16 is seen as child endangerment.
Extreme Blood Alcohol Content
If someone receives a DUI charge for driving while under the influence, they will likely have their blood alcohol content tested at a police station. A breathalyzer test taken at a police station can be used as evidence in a court of law, but it can also be used to increase the penalties of a conviction.
Anyone with a BAC that is 0.15% or more is considered to have an extreme blood alcohol content, and DUI penalties may increase as a result.
If a Washington driver is convicted for a first-time DUI with a BAC of 0.15% or more, he can expect the following punishments:
- Minimum of 48 consecutive hours in jail, a maximum of less than a year in jail; or
- 30 days of electronic home monitoring; or
- 120-day period of 24/7 sobriety program monitoring; and
- Minimum $1,245.50 fine, maximum of $5,000 (if the accused is not poor); and
- One-year driver's license revocation.
Arguably the biggest change between the two penalty lists is the change in the license penalties. A simple DUI conviction can result in a 90-day suspension, but an extreme conviction can result in a year-long license revocation: that means the punishment is four times worse than it was.
Multiple DUI Offenses
A first-time DUI offense is one thing, but multiple DUI offenses can result in worse penalties for the accused. For example, a second-time DUI conviction could result in a mandatory 45 days of jail time, and a third-time DUI conviction could result in a mandatory 120 days of jail time. Therefore, the minimum jail time increases from 2 days to 45 days to 120 days for a first through third DUI conviction.
Accused of a DUI?
If you or a loved one is accused of a DUI, you have the right to fight for your case. Attorney Mark Garka can help you defend your rights regardless of the circumstances of your arrest. If you want experienced and tried representation, look no further than the Law Office of Mark Garka!
Call (888) 252-1961 now for a free consultation for your case!