DUI breath test refusal in Washington

DUI Breath Test in Washington

Most motorists have found themselves at a bar in the past discussing the very topic of whether it is smart to blow into a breathalyzer or to refuse the DUI breath test in Washington if ever pulled over while intoxicated. Some individuals prefer to roll the dice and blow, believing it might help their case, while others think that because they didn’t blow, there is no evidence they were ever drunk, and therefore, they are safe from legal consequences. Some of your friends might bring up that they know someone who got pulled over after leaving a bar and such and such happened. We have all heard stories and have been given advice, but now it is time to separate the truth from myths.

Washington has strict penalties for those convicted of a DUI. A driver can be convicted of a DUI if they are under the age of 21 and their BAC is above .02% while a person over the age of 21 can be convicted of a DUI if their BAC is above .08%.

Let’s compare the penalties in the charts below for a conviction versus the penalty for a refusal to submit to the breathalyzer test.

 Type1st Offense2nd Offense3rd Offense
Jail24hours to 1 year30 days to 1 year90 days to 1 year
Fines and Penalties$865.50 to $5,000$1120.50 to $5000$1970.50 to $5000
License Suspension90 days to 1 year2 years to 900 days3 to 4 years
Ignition Interlock Device RequiredYesYesYes
 Type1st Offense2nd Offense3rd Offense
Refusal to take test1 year suspended license2 years suspended license3 years suspended license

If presented these two charts while discussing the topic with your friends, one may think it is intelligent to merely refuse to blow because you won’t face any jail time or penalties. Unfortunately, that is actually incorrect. Even if you refuse to submit to blow, that refusal can still be used against you in court to support your conviction. In other words, you could still be facing all the fines and possible jail time, but also, instead of the possibility of having your license suspended for as little as 90 days, your license would automatically be suspended for the maximum of a year. In addition, your attorney has a lot less room to fight a refusal to blow versus the results of a breathalyzer test. All the prosecutor needs to prove is that you were asked to submit to the test and you refused.

Regardless of whether you decided to submit to the breathalyzer test or not, remember the following words:

“I would like to request my attorney and I am invoking my right to remain silent. I am represented by the Law Office of Erin Bradley McAleer. They can be contacted at (360) 334-6277.”