How Much Will a DUI Cost in Washington?

When you are facing charges for driving under the influence (DUI) in Washington, you need to consider the true cost of NOT fighting back. It may seem easier to plead guilty or take a prosecutor’s offer for deferred prosecution. However, this could have a significant impact on your life and your savings. In many cases, a DUI conviction in Washington can cost you upwards of $10,000.

Instead of resigning yourself to a permanent conviction on your record and paying thousands upon thousands of dollars in punitive fines, court costs, and various administrative charges and fees, contact a skilled Tacoma DUI lawyer at The Law Offices of Morgan Fletcher Benfield, PLLC and learn how you can defend yourself in court and save yourself from the real cost of a DUI in Washington.

How Much Will a DUI Cost in Washington?

A DUI conviction will result in a number of statutory penalties and collateral consequences. If you plead or are found guilty, you can be sentenced to jail, electronic home monitoring, a driver’s license suspension, use of an ignition interlock device, and more. You can also anticipate a DUI impacting your education, career, family life, and social circle.

As for the financial cost of a DUI conviction in Washington, you should expect:

  • Criminal DUI fines: The maximum penalty for a DUI is $5,000 under Washington law. Additionally, both King and Pierce County have mandatory minimum fines. In King County, the mandatory minimum fine is $865.50 for a first-time DUI with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of less than .15 percent. If you are convicted of a third or subsequent DUI and had a BAC of .15 percent or higher, then your mandatory minimum fine in King County is $2,820.50. In Pierce County, the minimum fine for a first-time DUI with BAC less than .15 percent is $940.50 while the fine for a third or subsequent offense with a high BAC is $2,895.50. There is a lot of confusion around how mandatory minimums are applied, but an effective attorney can help explain the process and facilitate a favorable result.
  • Additional fines, fees, and assessments: The figures above include the minimum fine, the Public Safety and Education Assessment, the toxicology lab fee, a Title 46 penalty, and a court funding fee. You must be careful when reading up on minimum DUI fines. Do they include the criminal fine only, or do they also include all of the other fines and assessments that apply to DUI convictions? The additional penalties can take a fine that is originally a few hundred dollars and increase it to thousands of dollars.
  • Installation and maintenance of an ignition interlock device: If you are required to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle when your driving privileges are reinstated, then you can expect another significant expense. The installation of the device can cost up to $150, the regular calibration fees can also cost up to $150 per appointment, and the removal can cost up to $100. Over a year, it is easy to see this device may cost more than $1,000.
  • License reinstatement fees: If you are obtaining a restricted or ignition interlock device license after a DUI, then you will have to pay an application fee of $100, a probationary license fee of $50, and a monthly ignition interlock device fee of $20. When you go to have your license fully reinstated, you will have to pay other fees, including a licensing fee of $54 and an alcohol-related suspension reinstatement fee is $150.
  • Higher auto insurance premiums: If you are convicted of a DUI, you can almost guarantee your auto insurance premiums will increase. Your insurer is likely to find you to be a high-risk driver now. Since their risk in insuring you has gone up, so does your bill. NerdWallet found in 2014 that a Washington driver who is convicted of a DUI will see their car insurance price rise by 54.24 percent and will pay more than $2,334.01 in insurance over a five-year period. In 2017, the resulting increases are likely similar or even higher.
  • Losing out on future earnings: This may be hard to conceptualize while you are dealing with the real-time impact of a DUI. Staying out of jail and keeping your license would be top of mind for anyone. However, in the future when prospective employers review your criminal record, they may look less favorably on an application that includes a DUI. This can delay pay raises and better, long-term career opportunities. In a few years, people often lament not pursuing a better outcome in a past DUI case after they were denied a job or forced to stay in a position they originally thought would be temporary.

Contact a Trusted DUI Defense Lawyer Today

Hiring an attorney to represent you against a DUI can be intimidating, and you are probably worried about the cost. However, you face far greater expenses when you try to deal with a DUI alone. Without an attorney, you are more likely to be found guilty or accept a plea bargain that is not in your best interests. These outcomes force you to pay thousands of dollars in the year or more following the conviction.

Hiring a private DUI defense lawyer from The Law Offices of Morgan Fletcher Benfield, PLLC is not an expense, it is an investment in your future. We will fight for you to obtain the best possible outcome in your case and will strive to reduce the costs of a DUI charge or conviction as much as possible.

Call today at (253) 518-3643 to schedule a consultation.