Unlike most Gross Misdemeanors, a DUI or Physical Control conviction carries mandatory minimum jail time, fines and license suspension upon conviction. These minimums range from a day in jail and a $940.50 fine, up to 120 days in jail (followed by 150 days electronic home monitoring) and a $2,895.50 fine. Increased political pressure has resulted in more aggressive action from courts and prosecutors. Have aggressive, skilled attorneys on your side, protecting you. Have Ashbach Law Offices, LLC.
Possible penalties and punishments for DUI are seen many places, from court-imposed sanctions, to department of licensing, to employment ramifications, as well as foreign travel. Please read below to learn more.
Sanctions from the Court
For a first-time offender with a blood alcohol level of below a .15, a person is facing a minimum sentence of a day in jail and a $940.50 fine (plus court costs and assessments). If a passenger under 16 was in the vehicle at the time of the DUI, an additional 24 hours in jail is required. New laws have authorized the 24 hours in jail to be converted to electronic home monitoring (EHM) on a 15-to-1 basis for first offenses.
A first-time offender is also required to have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed on all cars he or she drives for a year. This device cannot be removed until the interlock provider certifies to the Department of Licensing that the driver has gone four consecutive months without a violation of the IID. In theory, the IID requirement could end up being permanent. Additionally, the court orders DOL to suspend a driver’s license for 90 days.
For refusals, or blood alcohol levels of .15 or higher, a first-time offense mandatory minimum sentence includes 48 hours in jail and a $1,195.50 fine (plus court costs and assessments). If the driver refused the breath test, the court orders DOL to suspend a driver’s license for two years. If the blood alcohol content was above .15, the license is ordered to be suspended for one year.
If a person convicted of DUI has a prior offense (DUI, Reckless Driving reduced from DUI, or Negligent Driving reduced from DUI) in the past seven years, the penalties quickly get more severe. For example, a driver convicted of a DUI refusal, with one prior offense within seven years, faces a minimum of 45 days in jail followed by 90 days electronic home monitoring (EHM). In this scenario, the 90 days could be converted to six days in jail at the driver’s request. The base fine would be $1,6250.50. The IID requirement would be for a minimum of five years.
Again, these are mandatory minimums. A judge can, and will, often go above and beyond these minimums.
Protect yourself. Let us fight for you. Call 360-659-4950 or 888-WA-LAW-NW (888-925-2969) for a free case analysis.
Alcohol and Drug Evaluations and Treatment
For those convicted of DUI, or reduced charges from DUI, a sentencing judge is very likely to impose the requirement of a Drug and Alcohol Evaluation, and following up with the recommended treatment. By law, these evaluations are to be completed by a state-licensed facility. The evaluator needs to take the driver’s “abstract of driving record” and the police reports into consideration when making an evaluation.
The quality and accuracy of evaluations can differ greatly depending on which agency is chosen. Many evaluation agencies bend over backwards to find a drug/alcohol issue, knowing that treatment is very expensive. Accordingly, it is important to select a fair, trustworthy evaluation provider. Feel free to contact our office for recommendations.
Department of Licensing Sanctions
Separate from the criminal court penalties are penalties imposed by the Department of Licensing though an administrative process. When a driver is arrested for DUI, and has:
1) refused the breath test, or
2) had a blood alcohol content above a .08, or
3) had a blood result above 5.0 ng/L of marijuana,
the Department of Licensing begins an administrative process for suspending the driver’s license. This suspension can, and should, be contested by filing the correct paperwork with DOL within 20 days of arrest. This gives us an opportunity to challenge the DUI arrest and case early on, before the criminal case is finished.
Failure to respond to the hearing results in suspension, regardless of whether you are later convicted of any crime for the arrest.
Administratively, for a BAC above a .08, or a blood result above 5.0 ng/L, the suspension is a minimum of 90 days. If the driver had a prior offense within seven years, the license suspension is two years.
For a refused BAC (or blood) test, a first-time offender faces a one-year license revocation; if that driver has a prior offense, the mandatory license revocation is two years.
Many occupations require a valid driver’s license, such as commercial drivers, pilots and boat captains. A DUI conviction, with the accompanying license suspension or revocation, can have disastrous effects. A Commercial Driver’s License will be suspended or revoked, even if the DUI driving was done in a personal vehicle.
For those who simply drive an employer’s vehicle at work, without a CDL, a license suspension also causes problems. The Ignition Interlock License (IIL) lets a driver with an otherwise suspended license drive motor vehicles with function interlock devices installed. There is a workplace vehicle exemption, but this does not kick in until 30 days of license suspension have passed.
Additionally, workers who need to travel to Canada often have problems following a DUI conviction.
In general, persons in the U.S. convicted of a DUI offense are inadmissible to Canada for a period of 10 years. While this is a nuisance for most people, it is a disaster for people whose job requires travel to Canada. “Rehabilitation” for earlier entry is possible, but typically requires at least a five-year wait-out period.