Most states consider a person guilty of driving under the influence when their blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08 or higher.
Washington, however, employs a scale for their DUIs. While you will be arrested for driving under the influence if your BAC is 0.08 or higher, there is a threshold, and if you go over the threshold, you could face harsher penalties.
What is the Washington State BAC Limit?
Per RCW 46.61.502, you are driving under the influence if your BAC is 0.08 or higher or you have a THC concentration in the blood of 5.00 or greater within two hours of driving.
What Sentences Come with Higher BAC Limits?
Washington is one of the few states to use an escalation process for higher BAC results. In Washington, you are given a harsher sentence if your BAC is 0.15 or greater.
For example, a first-time DUI offender with a BAC of 0.15 or less will face a one day to up to 364 days in jail and a fine of no less than $350. If the BAC is 0.15 or higher, the courts can impose a minimum of two days to as many as 364 days in jail with a fine of no less than $500.
A second DUI offense with a BAC of 0.15 or fewer results in 30 days to as many as 364 days in jail and a fine of no less than $500. However, if the BAC is 0.15 or more, you could be sentenced to a minimum of 45 days in jail and no less than $750 in fines.
For each offense tier, the punishments increase for those with BACs over 0.15.
Can I Just Refuse the Breathalyzer Test?
Do not think that refusing a breathalyzer test and having no BAC on record will help you avoid a DUI conviction, let alone penalties. Under RCW 46.20.308, all drivers give implied consent. Therefore, if you refuse a test, you will be penalized not only by the criminal courts but the Department of Licensing. Your refusal will also be used against you, and if convicted, you will face the penalties of a person with a BAC of 0.15 or less.
Protect Yourself from Varying Washington State BAC Limits, Contact an Attorney
If you have been arrested for a DUI, regardless of your BAC, it is imperative you hire a DUI lawyer. Washington imposes harsh penalties for DUI offenders, especially repeat offenders. When your BAC is above 0.15, the state allows judges to increase your penalty, and you could spend up to one year in jail.
Contact an attorney at Bugbee Law Office, P.S. today about your DUI. Call us at 509-337-5082 for a free consultation or request a case evaluation online.
The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.
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