Vancouver WA DUI Attorney

A DUI or drunk driving charge can be a traumatic experience. All of a sudden you are facing a permanent criminal charge on your record along with the criminal consequences that go along with it.  From mandatory minimum jail time to license suspension and potentially years of an ignition interlock device, DUI penalties in Vancouver, WA are some of the toughest in the country.   
It is not always clear whether those few drinks you had will put you over the legal limit. Just about everyone is in danger of getting a DUI at some point in their lives. Police, prosecutors and the courts treat DUI charges very seriously and often more seriously than violent crimes.  Drunk driving charges can be charged in various ways, from DUI to Physical Control of a Motor Vehicle, Negligent Driving in the First Degree to felony DUI and Vehicular Assault.
DUI charges carry mandatory jail time and license suspension in addition to expensive fines and probation.  Only a skilled attorney can help you get through this complex area of law and lead you to the best outcome in your case.

Fighting Your DUI Charge

During a DUI traffic stop, police officers have to follow strict procedures in order to have a case against you. A skilled attorney will know what the officers did wrong or should have done and use that information to fight your case.
I will analyze the police officer’s investigation, which includes:

  • Probable Cause to Stop
  • Probable Cause to Arrest
  • Mistakes in the Field Sobriety Test
  • Errors in the Breath Test
  • Violations of Your Rights

Every DUI case is different and having handled hundreds of these cases, I know which direction to take your case.  Sometimes cases need to go to trial and sometimes they need to settle.  Either way I will fight tirelessly to get you the results you want in your case and to protect your rights. 

Washington State DUI Law

A DUI in Washington is defined by R.C.W. 46.61.502.  You can be charged with a DUI if you are driving a vehicle with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher or you are under the influence or appreciably affected by alcohol or other drugs.  Being under the influence or appreciably affected means that they can charge you even if you refuse a BAC test or they believe you are under the influence of something other than alcohol.
When a police officer conducts a traffic stop, the officer has certain rules he or she has to follow in order to act within the law.  In Washington, the driver of a vehicle is protected by constitutional protections from unreasonable traffic stops.  Only an experienced DUI attorney can determine whether the officer conducted a legal traffic stop.

First DUI Penalties

Washington has mandatory minimum jail sentences for DUI offenders, depending on how many prior DUI’s you have received in the prior 7 years and whether your BAC test was over .15 or you refused the test.   Washington has enhanced DUI penalties if your BAC test was over .15 or you refused the BAC test all together. In addition to the penalties below, you will be required to complete a victims impact panel, an substance abuse assessment and comply with recommended treatment and pay fines and fees.
Mandatory minimum penalties for a first DUI charge in Washington are:

BACOver .08, Under .15Over. 15Refused
Jail Time24 hours minimum48 hours minimum48 hours minimum
License Suspension90 days1 year2 years
Ignition Interlock1 year1 year1 year
Probation5 years5 years5 years
*Jail time represented is the minimum under the law. The maximum jail penalty on a DUI is 1 year.

Second DUI Penalties

If you have a DUI conviction within seven years of your current charge you are facing drastically increased mandatory minimum penalties. In addition to a jail sentence, DUI mandatory minimums include a sentence to electronic home confinement (EHC), DUI Victim’s Panel, Alcohol Evaluation and Treatment, use of an Ignition Interlock device, 5 years probation, license suspension and costly fines. 

BACOver .08, Under .15Over. 15Refused
Jail Time30 days jail & 60 EHC45 days jail & 90 EHC45 days jail & 90 EHC
License Suspension2 years2 years2 years
Ignition Interlock5 years5 years5 years
Probation5 years5 years5 years
*Jail time represented is the minimum under the law. The maximum jail penalty on a DUI is 1 year.

Third DUI Penalties

If you have two prior DUI convictions within seven years of your current charge, the minimum penalties increase under Washington law. These penalties are listed below and include DUI Victim’s Panel, Alcohol Evaluation and Treatment, mandatory use of an Ignition Interlock device, 5 years probation, license suspension and costly fines.

BACOver .08, Under .15Over. 15Refused
Jail Time90 days jail & 120 EHC120 days jail & 150 EHC120vdays jail & 150 EHC
License Suspension2 years2 years2 years
Ignition Interlock10 years5 years5 years
Probation5 years5 years5 years
*Jail time represented is the minimum under the law. The maximum jail penalty on a DUI is 1 year.

Three or More Prior DUI Convictions

If you have three or more convictions within 10 years, then the state can charge you with a felony DUI. This DUI charge carries a maximum sentence of 5 years in jail and a $10,000 fine. The sentencing range you face is determined by how many prior DUIs you have along with any prior felony convictions. The standard sentence recommendation on a first-time felony DUI is approximately 13 months in prison.

Free Consultation – Hire an Experienced DUI Attorney


Kris Carrasco is experienced in handling DUIs and other criminal and traffic offenses.  Kris can help you navigate through the complex laws involved with a DUI can help you get the best possible results in your case.  If you are charged with a DUI in the Vancouver area – call today for a free, no obligation case evaluation.