Andrew Wheeler Law
902 Esther Street Suite 200, Vancouver WA 98660 Phone: (360) 690-0065

Vancouver DUI Attorney

In the state of Washington, DUI (Driving Under the Influence) is a criminal charge that carries with it large fines, potential loss of license, and even jail time. Washington DUI charges occur when a police officer suspects a person of operating a motor vehicle while affected by either alcohol or drugs. This applies to illegal and legal (prescription) medications, OTC drugs, and any combination of drugs and alcohol that impairs the operation of a vehicle. The specific law that applies to Washington DUI cases, also referred to as the offense of "drunk driving", is laid out in state law RCW 46.61.502, 503 and 504 -Driving Under the Influence.

Washington DUI - Alcohol

Under the Washington State statutes, RCW 46.61.502, 46.61.503 and 46.61.504, an alcohol-related DUI can be charged if a driver:

  • has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher for adults
  • has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .02 or higher for minors (under 21)

Blood Alcohol Content is usually calculated by a breath test, administered by the officer at a holding facility. Many officers carry a portable breath test device that can be used on a stopped driver to estimate BAC, but the portable test device is not admissible as evidence in a DUI trial. In some situations, an officer will request a blood draw (performed at a hospital), to measure intoxication, but this is far less common then a breath test. If a driver refuses to take a blood or breath test, their driver's license is automatically suspended under the Washington Implied Consent Law (RCW 46.20.308)

For a Washington resident charged with Driving Under the Influence, the penalties can be severe. In addition to criminal charges that must be handled in the court system, there is an administrative hearing procedure with the Washington Department of Licensing to determine possible driver's license suspension and time period. Additional penalties may include the installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) on your car, a requirement of high-risk SR-22 car insurance, and fines and work crew. If you have been charged with a DUI in Washington, it is critical to discuss your rights immediately with a qualified Washington DUI attorney.

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