Information on DUI Laws in Washington State

Like most states in America, Washington has strict laws dealing with driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or other intoxicants.  States are implementing tougher fines and penalties in an effort to

States are implementing tougher fines and penalties in an effort to discourage individuals from driving under the influence.  In 2012 there were 444 fatalities attributed to motor vehicle accident involving alcohol.

Even with focused efforts to increase the awareness of the impacts of DUI, and tougher Washington DUI laws, individuals continue to get behind the wheel after consuming too much alcohol or taking medications that greatly impair the ability to drive.

Often times individuals do not realize they are over the legal limit to drive a vehicle and they find themselves getting pulled over or stopped at a DUI checkpoint and arrested for DUI.

New technologies are being developed that allow individuals to quickly test their BAC (blood alcohol concentration) before they get behind the wheel.  The hope is that by making these personal BAC testing devices readily available to the public they will begin to test themselves and if they are over the legal limit to drive they will find another way to get home or wherever they are going.

Of course, even with these new technologies, stiffer DUI penalties and more awareness of the dangers of DUI, people will still get behind the wheel while being over the legal limit to drive.

Common DUI Questions:

RCW 46.61.504

(1) A person is guilty of being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug if the person has actual physical control of a vehicle within this state:

(a) And the person has, within two hours after being in actual physical control of the vehicle, an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher as shown by analysis of the person’s breath or blood made under RCW 46.61.506; or

(b) The person has, within two hours after being in actual physical control of a vehicle, a THC concentration of 5.00 or higher as shown by analysis of the person’s blood made under RCW 46.61.506; or

(c) While the person is under the influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor or any drug; or

(d) While the person is under the combined influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor and any drug.

(2) The fact that a person charged with a violation of this section is or has been entitled to use a drug under the laws of this state does not constitute a defense against any charge of violating this section. No person may be convicted under this section if, prior to being pursued by a law enforcement officer, the person has moved the vehicle safely off the roadway.

(3)(a) It is an affirmative defense to a violation of subsection (1)(a) of this section which the defendant must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant consumed a sufficient quantity of alcohol after the time of being in actual physical control of the vehicle and before the administration of an analysis of the person’s breath or blood to cause the defendant’s alcohol concentration to be 0.08 or more within two hours after being in such control. The court shall not admit evidence of this defense unless the defendant notifies the prosecution prior to the omnibus or pretrial hearing in the case of the defendant’s intent to assert the affirmative defense.

(b) It is an affirmative defense to a violation of subsection (1)(b) of this section, which the defendant must prove by a preponderance of the evidence, that the defendant consumed a sufficient quantity of marijuana after the time of being in actual physical control of the vehicle and before the administration of an analysis of the person’s blood to cause the defendant’s THC concentration to be 5.00 or more within two hours after being in control of the vehicle. The court shall not admit evidence of this defense unless the defendant notifies the prosecution prior to the omnibus or pretrial hearing in the case of the defendant’s intent to assert the affirmative defense.

(4)(a) Analyses of blood or breath samples obtained more than two hours after the alleged being in actual physical control of a vehicle may be used as evidence that within two hours of the alleged being in such control, a person had an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more in violation of subsection (1)(a) of this section, and in any case in which the analysis shows an alcohol concentration above 0.00 may be used as evidence that a person was under the influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor or any drug in violation of subsection (1)(c) or (d) of this section.

(b) Analyses of blood samples obtained more than two hours after the alleged being in actual physical control of a vehicle may be used as evidence that within two hours of the alleged being in control of the vehicle, a person had a THC concentration of 5.00 or more in violation of subsection (1)(b) of this section, and in any case in which the analysis shows a THC concentration above 0.00 may be used as evidence that a person was under the influence of or affected by marijuana in violation of subsection (1)(c) or (d) of this section.

(5) Except as provided in subsection (6) of this section, a violation of this section is a gross misdemeanor.

(6) It is a class C felony punishable under chapter 9.94A RCW, or chapter 13.40 RCW if the person is a juvenile, if:

(a) The person has four or more prior offenses within ten years as defined in RCW 46.61.5055; or

(b) The person has ever previously been convicted of:

(i) Vehicular homicide while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug, RCW 46.61.520(1)(a);

(ii) Vehicular assault while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug, RCW 46.61.522(1)(b);

(iii) An out-of-state offense comparable to the offense specified in (b)(i) or (ii) of this subsection; or

(iv) A violation of this subsection (6) or RCW 46.61.502(6).

Tennessee Legal Resources

At some point in most people’s lives they will require help from a legal professional.  Whether you’re starting a business, buying real estate, or want to fight a speeding ticket, having the help of an experience attorney is beneficial.

There are many legal resources online that can help you research specific laws, legal definitions, recent cases, and verify if a lawyer is properly licensed to practice law within Tennessee or has received any discipline from the Bar Association.

Below are some Tennessee legal resource web sites that can help:

Tennessee Bar Associations

Tennessee Legal Resources

Attorney Directories