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Mandatory Jail for a DUI conviction in Washington

Posted by Aaron J. Wolff | Apr 04, 2015 | 0 Comments

Any person who is convicted of DUI jail faces mandatory jail time.  Even on a first offense.  It is a minimum of 24 hours consecutive for cases where there is no breath test result or it is under .15, or 48 hours consecutive in jail for a person convicted of DUI with a reading of .15 or above or where they refuse a breath or blood test.  For most peope who have never been arrested before- let alone been inside a jail- this is absolutely terrifying.

Some people arrested in King County by Washington State Patrol will have the misfortune of being booked in the King County Correctional Facility in downtown Seattle.  They will meet with jail staff who will decide whether to release them on their personal recognizance (also known as "PR") or bail will be set and the accused must either have a friend or relative bail them out or utilize a bail bond company.  They are usually in cusody from the early morning hours following their arrest until either late morning or early afternoon.  Typically, a total of 5-12 hours following their arrest for DUI until they get released from the jail.

The bad part is this horrifying experience usually does not amount to 24 hours so the person will not get credit for the time they spent in the jail.

One of my primary objectives as a Seattle DUI attorney is to do everything possible to keep my clients out  of jail.  Many times I am able to accomplish the goal.  But not always.  And if my client eventually gets convicted of DUI, they face jail time.

There is an alternative to jail.  The judge, at his or her discretion, may allow a person to serve electronic home monitoring (EHM) in lieu of jail.  The ratio is 15 days of EHM per one 1 day of jail.  This is a large conversion.  The benefit is that if EHM is authorized, the person stays out of jail.  The downside is that they will be required to wear an ankle bracelet and while they will be able to go to work, doctor's appointments and treatment, they will have to be home at all other times.  And the price is usually pretty expensive on a daily basis.

Whenever I have a client who faces a mandatory day or two in jail, I typically recommend they go to either the municipal jails in Kirkland or Issaquah.  They will have to pay for the opportunity of being at one of these two jails (around $100 per day).  While jail is still jail, these facilities have far less inmates and more staff on hand.  Most people who have been at the jail in King County would do anything to not have to step foot in it again.  If a person faces a longer commitment, they will want to find a facility that offers work release that allows them to leave on a daily basis to go to work so they can keep their job.  The City of Kirkland jail offers a work release program, Issaquah does not.

As I stated above, the goal to keep you out of jail is a primary concern.  And if you are reading this subsequent to a recent arrest for DUI, do not be horrified and lose all hope.  By hiring the right DUI lawyer with experience and relentless advocacy can hopefully lead to a resolution where you do not face jail time.

About the Author

Aaron J. Wolff

A former DUI prosecutor, Aaron Wolff has over 18 years of experience in representing people accused of DUI and is recognized as one of the leading defense lawyers in Washington State. His relentless and passionate advocacy has lead to superb ratings and outstanding reviews from former clients.


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