The Penalties of a Seattle DUI

A driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol charge in Washington state usually results in harsh penalties, such as loss of license, jail time, ignition interlock requirements or fines. Knowing all the penalties associated with a DUI charge in Seattle can help you make the right choices to best help your case.


Fully understanding the penalties of a DUI is extremely important; hiring a DUI lawyer seattle should be highly considered also, as it may result in reduced or dropped charges or penalties. DUI attorneys are also able to help make the court process much simpler and less stressful for you.


The penalties for a DUI in Seattle vary by the exact charge; whether this is a first or second offense, breath test results, etc. Keep reading as we break down the penalties of a DUI offense:

Mandatory Court Appearances

When arrested for a DUI in Seattle, a mandatory first appearance or arraignment follows. During this mandatory court appearance, the court will consider whether to impose conditions which may include posting of bail, electronic home monitoring pending trial, SCRAM alcohol monitoring devices, or whether to require the installation an ignition interlock device.

During this court appearance, the judge will also ask the accused to enter a “guilty” or “not guilty” plea to the DUI charge. The first court hearing is very important and can dramatically affect one’s liberty even before any determination has been made on the issue of guilt or innocence.

Having an experienced Seattle DUI defense attorney at each hearing to represent the accused is very wise and can make all the difference in the conditions and penalties imposed by the court.

License Suspension

If you test above the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) legal limit of .08 on a breath test or refuse to take a breath and are arrested for a DUI, the Department of Licensing (DOL) will suspend your license. Even if you are proven not guilty after going to court, the DOL still takes what they call “administrative action” and will suspend or revoke your license.

The length of suspension is dependent on your breath test results. For Blood BAC test results .08 or higher, the DOL will suspend your license for at least 90 days. If you refused the breath test when arrested, the DOL will revoke your license for at least a year.

Once the suspension or revocation period is over, you may also be required to prove financial responsibility for three years by getting high-risk SR-22 insurance. Again, the DOL can make these requirements even if you were not convicted of a DUI charge after the arrest.

For anyone who had “administrative action” taken against them from the DOL within seven years of their current arrest, the suspension or revocation period may be longer.

View resources here on Washington state DUI penalties.

Leyba Defense PLLC

1700 7th Ave #2100 Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 357-8454