second DUI in Washington – Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense that can have life-altering consequences. If you have already been convicted of a DUI in Washington State and are now facing a second DUI in Washington charges, it is important to understand the legal process and the potential penalties you may be facing. The stakes are higher for a second DUI offense, with more severe consequences that can impact your personal and professional life. You may be facing heavy fines, license suspension or revocation, mandatory jail time, and even a requirement to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle.
In this guide, Eastcoastlaws.com will take a closer look at the legal process of a second DUI in Washington, the potential penalties, and what steps you can take to protect your rights and minimize the impact of a second DUI on your life. Whether you are facing a second DUI charge or simply want to be informed, read on to learn more about this complex and important legal issue.
In Washington, DUI (Driving Under the Influence) is defined as operating or being in actual physical control of a vehicle under the following conditions:
- Impaired by drugs or alcohol to the extent that your ability to drive a motor vehicle is noticeably diminished (referred to as an “impairment” DUI).
- Having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher (known as a “per se” DUI).
- Possessing a concentration of five nanograms or more of THC (the primary psychoactive component in marijuana) per milliliter of blood (referred to as a “per se marijuana” DUI).
DUI crimes are based on intoxication (from drugs or alcohol), THC levels, and low BACs.15% typically carry the lightest punishments. However, individuals who commit DUI and refuse chemical testing (blood or breath) in violation of Washington’s implied consent laws or have a BAC of .15% or higher generally face more severe consequences.
What Is A Second DUI Offense?
A DUI offense is considered a second offense if the driver has been previously convicted of DUI within the last seven years. If you have previously been convicted of DUI, your second offense is not taken lightly, and the consequences can be severe. In Washington State, a second DUI offense is considered a gross misdemeanor, which carries more severe penalties than a first DUI offense.
If you are facing a second DUI in Washington State charge, it is important to understand that the prosecution will likely be more aggressive in seeking a conviction. They will use your prior DUI conviction as evidence against you, making it more difficult to defend yourself. It is essential to work with an experienced DUI defense attorney who can help you navigate the legal process and protect your rights.
Penalties For A second DUI In Washington State
The Washington State Department of Licensing imposes “administrative penalties,” which are separate from the criminal court’s penalties. These administrative consequences can be triggered by an arrest and apply regardless of whether the defendant is ultimately convicted of a DUI in criminal court. For a second DUI offense, the administrative penalties are as follows:
- Per se marijuana and per se alcohol: A two-year license suspension is the norm for second-time offenders who are found driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of.08% or higher or a THC concentration of at least five nanograms per milliliter of blood.
- Chemical-test refusals: Second-time offenders who refuse to undergo chemical testing generally face an administrative license suspension of two years or until they reach the age of 21, whichever is longer.
In addition, the Department of Licensing mandates that all motorists convicted of a second-offense DUI, regardless of when the prior offense occurred, must install ignition interlock devices (IIDs) in their vehicles for a minimum of five years. Furthermore, DUI second-time offenders who had a passenger under the age of 16 in their vehicle at the time of the offense are required to have IIDs for at least five and a half years.
Criminal penalties are the punishments imposed by a criminal court after a DUI conviction. In the case of a second DUI offense, the criminal penalties are as follows:
- Per se marijuana, per se alcohol with a BAC under .15%, and impairment DUIs: Motorists convicted of a second DUI involving per se marijuana, per se alcohol with a BAC under .15%, or impairment are typically charged with a “gross misdemeanor.” Convicted drivers generally face a jail term of 30 to 364 days and 60 days of electronic home monitoring (EHM). Alternatively, the judge may order four days of jail time or six months in a “24/7 Sobriety Program.” The criminal penalties also include fines and fees ranging from $500 to $5,000 and a two-year license suspension.
- Chemical-test refusals and BACs of .15% or greater: Motorists convicted of a second DUI involving a refusal to undergo a chemical test or a BAC of .15% or higher are typically charged with a gross misdemeanor. Convicted drivers generally face a jail term of 45 to 364 days and 90 days of EHM. Alternatively, the court may impose at least six additional days in jail and six months in a 24/7 program instead of EHM. The criminal penalties also include fines and fees ranging from $750 to $5,000 and a 900-day license suspension.
Depending on the circumstances, a judge may also order a DUI offender to participate in an educational or substance abuse treatment program. The judge must also add an extra five days in jail and raise the penalties and fees to between $2,000 and $5,000 for each repeat offender who was carrying a passenger who was under the age of 16. When a driver is found guilty of a second DUI in Washington, car seizure may also be an option in some circumstances.
Possible Defenses For A Second DUI Charge
If you are facing a second DUI charge, it is essential to work with an experienced DUI defense attorney who can help you develop a defense strategy. Some possible defenses for a second DUI charge include:
- Challenging the legality of the traffic stop: The police must have a valid reason for pulling you over, and if they did not, any evidence gathered during the stop may be suppressed.
- Contesting the accuracy of the breathalyzer or field sobriety tests: These tests are not always accurate and can be affected by various factors, including medical conditions and environmental factors.
- Arguing that the prior DUI conviction should not be considered: In some cases, it may be possible to argue that the prior DUI conviction is not relevant to the current charge.
The Legal Process Of A Second DUI In Washington
The legal process for a second DUI in Washington is similar to that of a first DUI offense. However, the consequences are much more severe. The legal process typically includes the following steps:
- Arrest: If you are arrested for a second DUI offense, you will be taken to jail and booked.
- Arraignment: You will be brought before a judge and formally charged with the offense. You will also have the opportunity to enter a plea.
- Pretrial hearing: This is an opportunity for your attorney to negotiate with the prosecutor and potentially reach a plea agreement.
- Trial: If a plea agreement is not reached, your case will go to trial, and a jury will determine your guilt or innocence.
- Sentencing: If convicted, the judge will impose a sentence that includes fines, jail time, and other penalties.
What To Expect During A Second DUI Court Case
If you are facing a second DUI charge, it is important to understand what to expect during your court case. The process can be long and complicated, and it is essential to have an experienced DUI defense attorney by your side. During your court case, you can expect:
- Aggressive prosecution: The prosecution will be more aggressive in seeking a conviction due to your prior DUI conviction.
- Evidence gathering: The prosecution will gather evidence against you, including police reports, witness statements, and test results.
- Expert testimony: The prosecution may call expert witnesses to testify against you, including toxicologists and accident reconstruction experts.
- Cross-examination: Your attorney will cross-examine the prosecution’s witnesses and challenge the evidence against you.
- Jury selection: If your case goes to trial, a jury will be selected to hear your case.
Hiring A DUI Defense Attorney For A Second Offense
If you are facing a second DUI charge, it is essential to work with an experienced DUI defense attorney who can help you navigate the legal process and protect your rights. A skilled attorney can help you develop a defense strategy, negotiate with the prosecution, and represent you in court. When hiring a DUI defense attorney, look for someone who has experience handling second DUI cases and a track record of success.
How To Minimize The Consequences Of A Second DUI Conviction
If you are convicted of a second DUI offense, the consequences can be severe. However, there are steps you can take to minimize the impact of a conviction on your life. These include:
- Completing alcohol education and treatment programs: Completing these programs can help show the court that you are taking steps to address your alcohol use and prevent future DUI offenses.
- Installing an ignition interlock device: If required, installing an ignition interlock device on your vehicle can allow you to continue driving while serving your license suspension.
- Seeking employment counseling: A DUI conviction can make it difficult to find employment. Seeking employment counseling can help you develop job skills and find employment opportunities.
Steps To Take After A Second DUI Conviction
If you are convicted of a second DUI offense, it is important to take steps to move forward and rebuild your life. These steps may include:
- Completing your sentence: Make sure you complete all of the requirements of your sentence, including fines, jail time, and other penalties.
- Addressing any underlying issues: If you have an alcohol use disorder or other underlying issues, seek treatment to address these issues and prevent future DUI offenses.
- Rebuilding your life: Focus on rebuilding your personal and professional life, including finding employment and repairing relationships with friends and family.
Conclusion And Final Thoughts
Facing a second DUI in Washingtin charge can be overwhelming, but it is important to remember that you have options. By working with an experienced DUI defense attorney, you can develop a defense strategy and protect your rights. If convicted, there are steps you can take to minimize the impact of a conviction on your life. Remember, a second DUI conviction is not the end of the road. With the right support and resources, you can move forward and rebuild your life.