Is DUI A Felony in Washington State?

January 10, 2018

Most DUI cases in the State of Washington are charged as gross misdemeanors that are punishable by 364 days in jail and a fine not to exceed $5,000. Some DUI cases are charged as felonies though when the defendant has been convicted of:

  • Four or more DUI convictions or other qualifying convictions in the last 10 years
  • Vehicular homicide in the past
  • Vehicular assault in the past
  • Felony DUI or felony actual physical control of a vehicle in the past

Qualified convictions are enumerated in RCW 46.61.5055(14). There are more than 20 of them.

Proving Felony DUI
Like any other criminal case, the prosecution has the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecutor fails to prove each and every element of a felony DUI charge, the case fails in its entirety. In particular, the prosecution must prove that:

  • The defendant was operating a motor vehicle while having a blood alcohol content of .08 or above
  • If a prosecution is for driving under the influence of marijuana, the defendant had five nanograms or more of THC in his or her blood, or
  • His or her driving was appreciably affected to any degree by ingestion of alcohol, marijuana, another drug or any combination of the them
  • He or she had been convicted of DUI or another qualified conviction within the last 10 years

Should an individual be found guilty of a first felony DUI in the State of Washington, he or she faces up to five years in prison, a fine not to exceed $10,000 a mandatory driver’s license revocation and any other permissible conditions that a judge sets in his or her sound discretion.

Contact us today

Invoke your rights and contact us right away to arrange for a free consultation and case review after any Washington DUI arrest. We’ll listen to your side of the story and answer your questions. You have a range of options, and we’ll advise you of what we think we might be able to do for you. Additional information is available on our Spokane DUI Lawyer page.

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