Written by Stryder Wegener
Were you recently arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) with one DUI conviction already on your record? If you find yourself facing charges for a second DUI, you need to contact a Seattle DUI lawyer at Emerald City Law Group. A second DUI is no joke and could have a more profound impact on your life than the first. While you may have been able to justify or excuse your first DUI as an immature mistake, a second DUI creates a pattern – one that schools, professional associations, and employers will not like. It also comes with required jail time and electronic home monitoring.
Washington DUI Law
Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 46.61.502 prohibits driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of these substances. You can be charged with a DUI if:
- Within two hours of driving, you have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or higher
- Within two hours of driving, you have a THC concentration of 5.0 or higher
- You are under the influence of or affected by any intoxicating liquor, marijuana, or any drug
- You are under the combined influence of alcohol, marijuana, or any other drug
Keep in mind, the BAC limit of .08 percent is for drivers over 21 years old and who are in a personal vehicle. If you are under 21 years, then any alcohol in your system will lead to a DUI. If you are a commercial driver and in your commercial vehicle at the time, then your BAC is .04 percent. You also can be charged with a DUI even if your BAC or THC levels are below the legal limit, so long as the officer has evidence that you are inebriated and unable to operate a vehicle safely.
Additionally, Washington law really does mean any drug – it does not have to be an illegal controlled substance. You may face a DUI if you are impaired due to a prescription drug or an over-the-counter medication.
If you are arrested for a second DUI, whether or not you are charged with a second offense depends on when the incident leading to your first conviction took place. The court will look back seven years for previous DUIs. If you an arrest for drunk driving that led to a conviction was within seven years of the date of your most recent arrest, then expect to be charged with a second DUI.
Mandatory Confinement for a Second DUI
If you are convicted of a second DUI within seven years and had a BAC between .08 and .15 percent, then you will be sentenced to some time in jail. You may be sentenced to between 30 and 364 days in jail. If you had a high BAC of .15 percent or higher for your second DUI, then the minimum amount of jail time is 45 days. Whether or not you are sentenced to the minimum amount of jail or more depends on the circumstances, how hard the prosecutor pushes for the maximum penalty, and the judge’s discretion.
You also face at least 60 days of electronic home monitoring (EHM). If you are given a minimal jail sentence, however, you may be required to undergo a longer time of EHM. If your BAC was .15 percent or higher, you can be sentenced to at least 90 days of EHM for a second DUI.
Let a Seattle DUI Lawyer Defend You
If you are charged with a second or subsequent DUI, call an experienced DUI defense attorney from Emerald City Law Group as soon as you can. Never assume you will be found guilty or that you should plead guilty. There are many ways to defend against a second DUI as well as strategies to mitigate the penalty if convicted.