Is a Washington DUI a felony? That depends on numerous factors, including the circumstances surrounding the DUI, your own personal history of DUI convictions, and of course the state in which you receive your DUI. One thing is for certain, though: A DUI is a serious offense, and if you receive a DUI in Washington State, you're likely to face some very stiff consequences.
Most DUI offenses in Washington are a Gross Misdemeanor
For a first offense Washington DUI case, a person faces up to a year in jail, a $5,000 fine, license suspension, mandatory ignition interlock, drug and alcohol evaluation, and five years of probation. So regardless of how a DUI is legally classified, you're going to want to avoid it at all costs, and that means using common sense.
Depending on a person's history and the nature of the offense, a Washington DUI can be filed as a Class C Felony
But to respond to the question, “Is a DUI a felony?”, the answer is: It depends. In Washington State, a DUI is generally classified as a gross misdemeanor. This holds true whether you live in Seattle, Redmond, Bellevue, Kirkland or anywhere else in the state. However, if you have multiple DUI convictions on your record, or if you have previously been convicted of vehicular homicide or assault while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you may be looking at a felony conviction.
The statute is written as follows:
It is a class C felony punishable under chapter 9.94A RCW, or chapter 13.40 RCW if the person is a juvenile, if:
(a) The person has four or more prior offenses within ten years as defined in RCW 46.61.5055; or
(b) The person has ever previously been convicted of:
(i) Vehicular homicide while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug, RCW 46.61.520(1)(a);
(ii) Vehicular assault while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug, RCW 46.61.522(1)(b);
So in other words, your Washington DUI may be classified as a gross misdemeanor, or as a Class-C felony, depending on your own criminal record. But regardless of whether you're facing your first DUI or your seventh DUI, you're going to need legal assistance. You need an experienced DUI lawyer that understands Washington DUI laws and can give you a fighting chance.
It is imperative to immediately speak with an experienced Washington DUI lawyer
At Wolff Defense, our practice is limited to DUI and Physical Control cases and we have represented clients in Seattle and all across the state for over a decade. Call us today for a free, confidential consultation. We will listen to you and work tirelessly to defend your rights.