In Washington, a person is guilty of driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug if the person drives a vehicle within this state while under the influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor or any drug; or while the person is under the combined influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor and any drug. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 46.61.502(1)(a)-(b)(West 2010).
The fact that a person charged with a violation of this section is or has been entitled to use a drug under the laws of this state shall not constitute a defense against a charge of violating this section. Id. § 46.61.502(2).
Any person who operates a motor vehicle within Washington is deemed to have given consent to a test or tests of his or her breath or blood for the purpose of determining the alcohol concentration or presence of any drug in his or her breath or blood if arrested for any offense where, at the time of the arrest, the arresting officer has reasonable grounds to believe the person had been driving or was in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug. Neither consent nor this section precludes a police officer from obtaining a search warrant for a person’s breath or blood. Id. § 46.20.308(1).
If the driver refuses to take the test, the driver’s license, permit, or privilege to drive will be revoked or denied for at least one year. Id. § 46.20.308(2)(a).
If the driver refuses to take the test, the driver’s refusal to take the test may be used in a criminal trial. Id. § 46.20.308(2)(b).
The person tested may have a physician, or a qualified technician, chemist, registered nurse, or other qualified person of his or her own choosing administer one or more tests in addition to any administered at the direction of a law enforcement officer. The test will be admissible if the person establishes the general acceptability of the testing technique or method. The failure or inability to obtain an additional test by a person shall not preclude the admission of evidence relating to the test or tests taken at the direction of a law enforcement officer. Id. § 46.61.506(6).
Accused has a limited window to contact attorney before deciding whether or not to submit to chemical testing. extended delay may significantly affect test results and will be considered a refusal. State v. Staeheli, 685 P.2d 591 (1984).
First offense – imprisonment of not less than 1 day, nor more than 1 year (mandatory minimum: 24 consecutive hours imprisonment or 15 days electronic home monitoring); fine of not less than $350, nor more than $5,000; license suspended for 90 days; offender may be required to install ignition interlock device on vehicle. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. §§ 46.61.5055(1)(a)(i)-(ii) (West 2010); Id. § 46.61.5055(5)
Second offense (within 7 years) – imprisonment for not less than 30 days, nor more than 1 year; 60 days of electronic home monitoring (mandatory minimum: 30 days imprisonment and 60 days electronic home monitoring); fine of not less than $500, nor more than $5,000; license revocation for 2 years; vehicle subject to seizure and forfeiture; may be required to install ignition interlock device on vehicle. Id. § 46.61.5055(2)(a)(i)-(ii); Id. § 46.61.5058(2); Id. § 46.61.5055(5).
Third or fourth offense (within 7 years) – imprisonment for not less than 90 days, nor more than 1 year; 120 days of electronic home monitoring (mandatory minimum of 90 days imprisonment, and 120 days electronic home monitoring); fine of not less than $1,000, nor more than $5,000; license revoked for 3 years; vehicle subject to seizure and forfeiture; offender may be required to install ignition interlock device on vehicle. Id. §46.61.5055(3)(a)(i)-(iii); Id. § 46.61.5058(2); Id. §46.61.5055(5).
Mandatory Fee – Any individual convicted, sentenced to a lesser charge, or given deferred prosecution under WA’s DUID statute must pay a $200 fee to compensate the State for the drug test, in addition to any fine imposed by the Court. This fee applies to each individual conviction but may be waived for poverty. See RCW § 46.61.5054(1).
In Washington, law enforcement officials are not entitled to set up sobriety checkpoints.
Washington courts require legislative authority to allow law enforcement to set up checkpoints. No statutory authority exists in Washington. City of Seattle v. Mesiani, 755 P.2d 775 (1988).
State v. Webb, 195 P.3d 550 (2008) – A post-arrest warrantless search of defendant’s glove compartment was unlawful because such a search was valid only if there was a showing that defendant was arrested near his vehicle or that he had immediate control over the glove compartment.
State v. Wilhelm, 896 P.2d 105 (1995) — In order to convict for DUI, evidence must be sufficient to prove that ability to handle automobile was lessened in appreciable degree by consumption of drugs.
In re Gleason, Bkrtcy.W.D.Wash, 139 B.R. 249 (1992) — It takes more than the mere confession of defendant in order to convict.
Per Se Drugged Driving Laws
Washington has a per se drugged driving law enacted for cannabis.
Under Washington’s law, motorists with detectable levels of THC in the blood above 5 ng/ml are guilty of DUID. Revised Code of Washington 46.61.502(1)(b)