A person can be charged with Driving Under the Influence of alcohol, marijuana, or drugs, or a combination of any of these substances. Washington has set legal limits of .08 of alcohol, and 5 nanograms per mililiter of THC, the psychoactive chemical in marijuana. However, a person is not necessarily off the hook if they’re under the legal limit–it is not uncommon for prosecutors to charge people who are found to be below the legal limit, but their ability to drive has been affected by their consumption of intoxicants.
When you are arrested for a DUI, a series of actions take place that can be overwhelming. The Department of Licensing will want to suspend your privilege to drive for at least a period of 90 days, and you are facing mandatory jail.
In Washington, there are mandatory minimum sentences that a judge cannot go below. The “mandatory minimum” is determined by two main things–your DUI history, and your actions at the station. DUI history is defined broadly, and can be a previous DUI, a conviction that was reduced from DUI, like a reckless driving or negligent driving in the first degree, or even a dismissed DUI where you were on a deferred prosecution for a previous DUI.
If you have no DUI history, then the mandatory minimum sentence is 1 day in jail. Mandatory sentencing will double to 2 days in jail if you refused to submit to the breath test or if your alcohol level was .15 or greater. Sentencing can also be “enhanced,” or increased, if you have minors in the vehicle at the time of the DUI.
If you have one prior DUI, mandatory minimum sentencing goes up significantly. If your alcohol level is under .15, you are facing mandatory 30 days of jail followed by 60 days of electronic home monitoring (also known as house arrest). If the level is above .15, or if you refused the breath test, then you’re looking at 45 days of jail followed by 90 days electronic home monitoring.
If you have two prior DUI’s, mandatory minimum sentencing on a DUI under .15 is 90 days of jail followed by 120 days of jail; if you are above .15 or you refused the breath test, you’re facing 120 days of jail followed by 150 days of electronic home monitoring.
Mandatory minimum sentences only set the minimum sentence; it is possible that the prosecutors will want even more time, and it is possible a judge would give it to them-a judge is authorized to order up to the maximum penalty, which, in any misdemeanor DUI, is 364 days in jail.
Because the consequences of these cases are serious, you need someone who knows what they’re doing and how to do it right. If there is an oversight or error committed by police, a break in protocol, or an issue with any device measurement, Bret Woody will find it, and he will push the prosecutors to get you the best possible outcome on your case.