Felony DUI | Washington State DUI Lawyers | Callahan Law, P.S., Inc.Felony DUI Attorneys in Washington

Is a DUI a Felony or Misdemeanor?

Felony DUI – Since 2007, a DUI or Physical Control is a felony if the person has 4 or more prior DUIs (or other qualified offenses) within ten years or if the person has ever previously been convicted of vehicular homicide or vehicular assault while under the influence. In addition, a DUI or Physical Control is a felony if the person has ever previously been convicted of felony DUI or felony Physical Control.

Is DUI a Felony or Misdemeanor in Washington? | Washington DUI Lawyers

What Are “Prior Offenses” for Felony DUI or Physical Control?

The existence of a “prior offense” or offenses is largely the determining factor when the judge sentences a person for a DUI and that person has 1 or more of the listed “prior offenses.” RCW 46.61.5055(14) denotes the following offenses as “prior offenses” whether committed in violation of state law or an equivalent local or ordinance:

  • DUI
  • Physical Control
  • Driving or operating a commercial motor vehicle with alcohol or THC in system
  • Vehicular homicide committed while under the influence
  • Vehicular homicide committed in a reckless manner or with disregard for the safety of others if originally filed as committed while under the influence
  • Vehicular assault committed while under the influence
  • Vehicular assault committed in a reckless manner or with disregard for the safety of others if originally filed as committed while under the influence
  • Negligent driving in the first degree, if originally filed as a DUI, Physical Control, Vehicular Homicide under the influence or Vehicular Assault under the influence
  • Reckless driving, if originally filed as a DUI, Physical Control, Vehicular Homicide under the influence or Vehicular Assault under the influence
  • Reckless endangerment, if originally filed as a DUI, Physical Control, Vehicular Homicide under the influence or Vehicular Assault under the influence
  • An out-of-state conviction for any of the above offenses if they are found to be “comparable” offenses under Washington law.
  • Operating a vessel while under the influence of alcohol, marijuana or any drug (Boating Under the influence–BUI)
  • Operating a vessel in a reckless manner if the charge was originally filed as a BUI
  • Operating an aircraft while under the influence
  • Operating an aircraft in a careless or reckless manner if the charge was originally filed as operating an aircraft under the influence
  • Operating a non-highway vehicle while under the influence
  • Operating a snowmobile as to endanger another person while under the influence
  • A deferred prosecution granted for a DUI or Physical Control
  • A deferred prosecution for Negligent Driving in the First degree, Reckless Driving, or Reckless Endangerment if originally filed as a DUI, Physical Control, or Vehicular Homicide or Vehicular Assault while under the influence
  • A deferred prosecution in another state granted for a DUI or Physical Control if the out of state program is equivalent to the Washington state program
  • A deferred sentence imposed in a prosecution for Negligent Driving in the First Degree, Reckless Driving, or Reckless Endangerment if originally filed as a DUI, Physical Control, or Vehicular Homicide or Vehicular Assault while under the influence

How Is a Felony DUI Proven?

Is a DUI a Felony or Misdemeanor? | Washington State DUI Lawyers | Callahan Law, P.S., Inc.
Is a DUI a Felony or Misdemeanor? Click here to watch our video about Felony DUI’s in Washington State

Similar to a gross misdemeanor DUI, the prosecution has to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the driver either had a .08 or higher breath or blood alcohol concentration, a 5 ng or higher blood THC concentration, or that the driving was affected by alcohol, marijuana or any drug to “any appreciable degree.” In addition, the prosecution must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the driver had been convicted of the required number of prior offenses within the required time period. Unfortunately, it does not help one’s chances with a jury on the current offense, if the jury is aware of the prior offenses because a jury might be unduly prejudiced by knowledge of the priors, believing that the person is guilty now simply because they did it before.

What Are the Penalties for a Felony DUI?

A felony DUI is a class C offense, punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. The actual sentence is calculated by determining an “offender score” which is based on points for certain current and prior convictions (unless the offender is a juvenile). Conviction also results in a mandatory license revocation which is “tolled” while the offender is incarcerated. The person may be eligible for an ignition interlock driver’s license so that the offender may still drive while his or her license is revoked. If you have been arrested and are concerned that you may be charged with a felony DUI or felony Physical Control, we at Callahan Law, P.S., Inc. can help.

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Our Washington felony DUI lawyers are available to give you a free consultation.  Tell us your story in confidence, call (206) 866-6739 or fill out the form below.

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