Is there a difference between DUI and DWI in Washington State?
At The Woods Law Office, PLLC, serving clients in Tacoma, Puyallup and Auburn and throughout King County and Pierce County, we hear this question from clients regularly. DUI is “driving under the influence” and DWI is “driving while intoxicated.” Although in many states there is a legal distinction between DUI and DWI, in Washington, DUI is the standard term used.
Criminal defense attorney Doug Woods has more than a decade’s worth of experience helping people who are facing DUI charges. As DUI defense lawyers in Tacoma, we spend a lot of time making sure that our clients understand their legal options and know what the law has to say about DUI charges.
According to Washington State’s RCW 46.61.502:
(1) 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:
(a) And the person has, within two hours after driving, an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher as shown by analysis of the person’s breath or blood made under RCW 46.61.506; or
(b) While the person is under the influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor or any drug; or
(c) While the person is under the combined influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor and any drug.
(2) 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.
(3) It is an affirmative defense to a violation of subsection (1)(a) of this section which the defendant must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant consumed a sufficient quantity of alcohol after the time of driving and before the administration of an analysis of the person’s breath or blood to cause the defendant’s alcohol concentration to be 0.08 or more within two hours after driving. The court shall not admit evidence of this defense unless the defendant notifies the prosecution prior to the omnibus or pretrial hearing in the case of the defendant’s intent to assert the affirmative defense.
(4) Analyses of blood or breath samples obtained more than two hours after the alleged driving may be used as evidence that within two hours of the alleged driving, a person had an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more in violation of subsection (1)(a) of this section, and in any case in which the analysis shows an alcohol concentration above 0.00 may be used as evidence that a person was under the influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor or any drug in violation of subsection (1)(b) or (c) of this section.
(5) Except as provided in subsection (6) of this section, a violation of this section is a gross misdemeanor.
(6) 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
(iii) An out-of-state offense comparable to the offense specified in (b)(i) or (ii) of this subsection; or
(iv) A violation of this subsection (6) or RCW 46.61.504(6).
What does it all mean?
Yes, the law is confusing. Law enforcement officers count on the fact that you are confused by the law and probably too scared to challenge their authority. For example, you have the right to refuse a standard DUI procedure for Washington State — the often unreliable roadside sobriety test. If you have been stopped, you DO have to provide your license, insurance and registration. You DO NOT have to submit to a test. You SHOULD call DUI attorney Doug Woods as soon as possible.
Whether you call it DUI or DWI, call us to schedule a free consultation with a DWI attorney in Tacoma
If you have been charged with drunk driving, learn more about your rights under the law and your legal options. To schedule your free, confidential consultation with drunk driving lawyer Doug Woods, please contact us online. Weekend or evening appointments can be arranged, and we offer flexible, affordable payment plans.