Prior Offenses and Repeat DUI Offenses.
If you got, in the last 7 years, a prior DUI or Physical Control conviction, and are now charged again with DUI, you will face mandatory minimum (“enhanced”) sentencing if you are convicted of the new DUI or Physical Control charge. This is also true – that you will face substantially greater penalties this time – IF YOU GET CONVICTED - for your new DUI, including significantly more jail time, larger fines and considerably longer driver's license suspension, if your prior conviction was for any reduced charge that was amended down from a DUI or if your prior DUI was a deferred prosecution (which is not a conviction, but is a prior DUI conviction equivalent, further explained below). There are also mandatory minimum electronic home detention requirements imposed that must be served right after any mandatory minimum jail time for repeat DUI's.
But do not despair - there is hope, and there are defense strategies to avoid conviction in some cases, or to avoid the jail time, so please do not panic. Read this blog and give me a call.
All of this is governed by RCW 46.61.5055, a long, complex statute, called: “Alcohol and Drug Violator – Penalty Schedule,” viewable online at: http://app.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=46.61.5055, which defines “prior offense.” Prior offenses include a conviction within 7 years for one of the following if the original charge was a DUI or Physical Control:
- Physical Control
- Reckless Driving (if that conviction was amended from a DUI charge)
- Reckless Endangerment (if that conviction was amended from a DUI charge)
- Negligent Driving in the First Degree (if that conviction was amended from a DUI charge)
- Deferred Prosecution (notwithstanding successful completion and dismissal without conviction 5 years after entry of your deferred prosecution order)
- Vehicular Homicide or Vehicular Assault
- Operating a Commercial Motor Vehicle with THC in System over the legal THC limit (which is THC concentration of 5.00 nanograms per milliliter of whole blood or higher, within two hours after driving)
- Operation of a vessel under the influence of intoxicating liquor, marijuana, or any drug (i.e., Boating Under the Influence, aka “BUI”)
- Operating an Aircraft Under the Influence
- Operating a Snowmobile Under the Influence, or
- Operating a Golf Cart (or any similar non-highway vehicle) Under the Influence.
Note that prior Reckless Driving and Negligent Driving charges that were not amended down from a DUI or Physical Control charge are not “prior offenses” for purposes of Washington State mandatory minimum enhanced subsequent/repeat DUI sentencing – only those that were amended down from DUI or Physical Control, whether within the last 7 years or not. (This refers to the jail time, fines and driver's license suspension only because a conviction of Reckless Driving or Negligent Driving in the First Degree will require you to get an Ignition Interlock Device installed on your vehicle).
Additionally, if you have several previous Reckless driving or “Neg. 1” convictions, or both, or an otherwise bad prior driving record, the prosecutor will see that and he or she may well ask for more jail.