DUI Answers

The police officer punched a hole in my license. Can I still drive?

You can drive for 60 days (from the arrest date) with a hole punched driver’s license. To prevent your driver’s license from automatically suspending on the 60th day, you must request a hearing with the Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL) within 20 days of the arrest date AND win the hearing.

Will I be required to go to alcohol or drug treatment?

Every driver who is arrested for a DUI in WA State is required to undergo an alcohol or drug evaluation. The evaluator will use your past criminal history as well as your current alcohol/drug usage when determining what type of treatment (if any) will be needed. The duration of treatment can range from an 8 hour class to up to 2 years of outpatient treatment.

Is there jail time for a first DUI?

If you are convicted of a DUI and your breath test result was below .15, there is a mandatory minimum punishment of 24 hours in jail OR 15 days of electronic home monitoring (EHM). If you refused the breath test at the police station OR your breath test result was above .15, there is a mandatory minimum punishment of 2 consecutive days in jail OR 30 days of EHM.

This was my 2nd DUI. Are the penalties different than my 1st DUI?

Yes, a conviction for a second DUI will result in a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 30-45 days and a 2-3 year license suspension. Click here to learn more.

How long will my license be suspended?

For a first DUI, your license will be suspended for 90 days if your breath test result was below .15. If your breath test was above .15, your license will be suspended for 1 year.

If you refused the breath test at the police station, your license will be suspended for 2 years. Click here to learn more about the license suspension process in WA State.

If my license is suspended, can I still drive with an ignition interlock device?

Yes, as long as you meet the requirements of the DOL. Ignition interlock licenses are not valid for driving vehicles that require a commercial driver’s license (CDL) or for drivers who are not WA State residents (unless they are active duty military).

Will I have to buy high risk auto insurance?

If you want to drive after a DUI, the WA DOL requires you to purchase SR-22 (high risk) insurance for 36 consecutive months. You can not wait 3 years to avoid purchasing SR-22 coverage.

Will a DUI drop off my criminal record after a certain number of years?

Unfortunately, it will not drop off of your record. If you were an adult at the time of your DUI, there are no opportunities to seal, vacate, or expunge a DUI. This is due to an exclusion in RCW 9.96.060.

Are the consequences different if I am under the age of 21?

Yes, the criminal and driver’s license suspension process differs for drivers who are between the ages of 18-20 and for driver’s who are under 18. Click here to learn more.

Is a drug or Marijuana DUI treated differently than an alcohol DUI?

Marijuana DUIs have the same criminal and license suspension penalties as an alcohol DUI. DUIs that result from prescription drugs or illegal drugs have the same criminal consequences. However, there is not an automatic license suspension for DUIs that involve prescription or illegal drugs. The DOL will only suspend your license upon notice of a criminal conviction.

I am in the military. Can a DUI cause me to be chaptered out?

There have been increasing reports of this happening at Fort Lewis (JBLM). It is very important that your attorney has experience defending military members, since negotiations should be focused around saving your career. Please click here to learn more about Military DUIs.

I have an out of state license or am a resident of another state. What will happen?

There are a few different scenarios that may apply to you. Please click here to learn more.

I was parked in my car when the police found me. Can I still get a DUI?

Even if you weren’t driving, you can still be convicted of a Physical Control DUI, which has the same consequences as a driving DUI. However, if you were safely off of the roadway, that can be a very strong defense.

My breath test was under .08. Why was I arrested?

In WA, .08 is the presumed level of intoxication for drivers who are over the age of 21 (.02 for drivers under the age of 21). If a police officer witnesses erratic driving AND there is even a small amount of alcohol in your breath test, you will most likely be arrested for DUI or Negligent Driving in the First Degree.