Washington Per se DUI Laws
One area of DUI law that many people do not understand is the concept of per se DUI. This is a law most states, including Washington, has that applies to drivers who operate a vehicle with a certain amount of drugs or alcohol in their system. Under RCW 46.61.50 and RCW 46.61.504, in Washington a driver can be arrested for DUI for driving with an amount of alcohol or marijuana in their system that is over the legal limit. This is referred to as per se DUI. It does not matter if the driver was impaired by the substance they consumed, only that they consumed quantities that were over the limit.
Per se DUI is a serious offense that can lead to gross misdemeanor charges, license suspension, fines and even jail time. If you have been arrested for any type of DUI offense in Seattle, contact The Law Offices of Steve Karimi now.
Alcohol Per se DUI Charges in Seattle
In order to determine whether a driver is per se DUI, the alcohol concentration of a suspect must be measured. This factor refers to the amount of alcohol that is in the suspect's breath or blood. In Washington, the legal limit for a driver's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08. If the driver has a commercial license and is driving a commercial vehicle, the legal BAC limit is .04. This concentration is determined by performing a breath or blood test on the suspect that measures the amount of alcohol in their system. The test must be performed within two hours of driving in order for results to be deemed accurate. As RCW 46.61.506 (1)(2)(a) states:
“The breath analysis of the person's alcohol concentration shall be based upon grams of alcohol per two hundred ten liters of breath”.
If the driver has a BAC over this limit, they are automatically assumed to be intoxicated by the law. This means that even if a driver is showing no sign of impairment and passes field sobriety tests with no trouble, they can still be arrested and charged with DUI if the results of their BAC test show they had an alcohol concentration over the limit.
Marijuana Per se DUI Charges in Seattle
Legal DUI limits also apply to marijuana DUI cases in Washington. It is one of the few states that have per se laws related to marijuana. In order to determine marijuana intoxication, the THC level of the suspect is measured. Blood and, sometimes, urine tests look at the amount of THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) in a suspect's system. The legal THC limit in the state is 5.00, which means that if a blood test is performed within two hours of driving and shows that the suspect had a THC concentration of 5.00 or more nanograms per milliliter of whole blood, they can be charged with per se DUI.
Marijuana intoxication can be hard to prove because, unlike alcohol, THC can stay in a person's system for several days after use, meaning that a sobriety test could show that a suspect has been using marijuana long after the effects have worn off. The good news about this is that an experienced defense lawyer can challenge the results of a sobriety test in a per se marijuana charge.
Penalties for Per se DUI in Washington
Penalties for per se DUI are the same as any other type of DUI conviction. It is important for anyone facing these charges to understand what sentencing factors they are facing. According to Washington law, sentencing for any type of DUI conviction can include the following, depending on the severity of your charges:
- 24 hours to 1 year of incarceration
- A fine of $350-$5000
- Substance abuse counseling
In addition to these penalties, a DUI suspect must also understand how their license will be affected. For most per se DUI suspects, they can expect 90 days to 2 years of driver's license suspension. There are many things, however, that a defense lawyer can do to build your defense and help you avoid these penalties. For more information on what penalties to expect and what a DUI attorney can do to assist you, call The Law Offices of Steve Karimi.
Call a Seattle Per se DUI Attorney
Per se DUI charges can be hard to fight because the only evidence needed to prove your guilt is proof that your BAC or THC content was over the legal limit. That is why it is important to hire an experienced Seattle DUI attorney to help you fight your charges. Attorney Steve Karimi knows what defenses work best to challenge per se charges. He will fight hard for you and help you build a strong defense. Call The Law Offices of Steve Karimi now for free consultation to find out more.