Driving Under the Influence in Washington
You can receive a DUI in Washington for driving under the influence (DUI) of either drugs or alcohol. DUIs are serious offenses and carry harsh consequences, including fines, driver’s license suspensions, and possible jail time.
If you are arrested for or are convicted of a DUI, you will face bothcriminal penalties in court and administrative penalties with the Washington Department of Licensing (DOL).
On this page you’ll find definitions of DUI offenses in Washington, some of the common penalties for DUIs, and the steps you may need to take to reinstate your driver’s license.
Washington DUI Definitions
In Washington, you may be charged with a DUI if you have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of:
- 0.08%, if you’re 21 years old and over.
- 0.04%, if you are driving a commercial vehicle.
- 0.02%, if you are younger than 21 years old.
The severity of your punishment may vary depending on how high your BAC is when you are arrested. You may also receive DUI-like penalties even if your BAC is under the legal limit.
DUI/DWI Penalties in Washington
When you commit a DUI, you will likely face penalties from both the court and the Washington Department of Licensing (DOL).
You can receive separate penalties for the same DUI, resulting from:
- Your initial DUI arrest.
- A court conviction.
- Washington DOL penalties after a DUI conviction in court.
Depending on the number of DUIs you’ve committed and the circumstances of your offense, your penalties will vary.
WA DOL DUI Penalties Resulting from Arrest
When you are arrested for a DUI or are given a notice of suspension, the Washington DOL will suspend your driver’s license for 90 days to 2 years. The suspension will begin 60 days after your DUI arrest.
After your arrest or receiving a suspension notice, you have 20 days to request an administrative hearing to review your pending suspension. You can request a hearing online or by filling out a Request for DUI Hearing (Form HRNG-525-001). Requesting a hearing will cost a non-refundable fee of $375. If you are indigent or your income is below the Washington poverty level you can request a fee waiver by filling out a Application for DUI Indigent Waiver (Form HRNG-525-010).
If the hearing clears your DUI, you will not face a suspension from the WA DOL for the DUI arrest. However, you may still be convicted of a DUI in court.
For information about administrative hearings please visit the Washington Department of Licensing website.
DUI Convictions in Court
If you have had no prior DUIs in the past 7 years, you could face the following penalties if you receive a criminal conviction in court:
For BACs under 0.15%, you may face:
- Driver’s license suspension: 90 day.
- 1 day to 364 days in jail.
- Fines of $940 to $5,000.
For DUIs with a BAC of 0.15% or more OR refusing a chemical test, you may face:
- Driver’s license suspension: 1 year for BAC and 2 years for test refusal.
- Jail time of 2 to 364 days
- Fines of $1,195.50 to $5,000 .
You may also be required to attend Alcohol/Drug Education/Victim Impact or Treatment programs.
Other circumstances such as, driver with a passenger under 16 years old, may increase your penalties
WA DOL Penalties After a Court Conviction
If you are convicted of a DUI in court, your court will notify the Washington Department of Licensing (DOL).
Depending on the circumstances of your DUI, the Washington DOL may then suspend your driver’s license for 90 days to 4 years. The suspension will begin 45 days after the court notifies the DOL.
If you already have a suspended WA driver’s license resulting from your arrest for the same DUI, the Washington DOL will credit that time towards your court conviction suspension.
Washington Ignition Interlock Driver’s License
If you wish to drive while your driver’s license is under suspension or revocation for a DUI, you must apply for an ignition interlock driver’s license (ILL).
To apply for an ignition interlock license in Washington:
- Complete a Restricted Driver License Application (Form DR-500-001).
- Have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle. The installer should send proof to the WA DOL.
- Provide proof of financial responsibility with an SR-22 insurance form.
- Provide payment for the $100 application fee.
- Submit your documents to the address on the form.
In addition to the DOL fees you will also be responsible for the fees associated with the ignition interlock device. This will typically include: installation, maintenance, and any leasing fees. If you are below thestate poverty level you can apply for assistance to pay for your ignition interlock device. You may apply by filling out a Ignition Interlock Device Financial Assistance Application (Form DR-500-024).
If you have any questions, please contact the Washington Department of Licensing (DOL).
Reinstating Your Washington Driver’s License
After you’ve completed the requirements of your court conviction and the duration of your driver’s license suspension, you’ll need to reinstate your driver’s license with the Washington DOL.
While your reinstatement requirements will vary depending on the severity and circumstances of your DUI, you’ll generally need to:
- Complete an alcohol and drug treatment and education program.
- Make an application at the WA DOL.
- Pay a reinstatement fee of $150 (additional fees may apply).
- Pass any necessary driver’s license tests.
For more information about your reinstatement requirements, please use the personalized driver’s license reinstatement guide on the Washington Department of Licensing website or visit our Suspended License in Washington page.