(206) 866-6739

Linda Callahan | DUI Attorney

Felony DUI

Since 2007, a DUI or Physical Control is a felony if the person has four 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.

Also, a DUI or Physical Control is a felony if the person has ever previously been convicted of felony DUI or felony Physical Control.

Is a DUI a Felony in Washington?

A first DUI is usually a gross misdemeanor, not a felony. It becomes a felony if the person has ever previously been convicted of Vehicular Assault or  has four or more prior DUI’s.  A first DUI becomes a Vehicular Homicide if it results in the death of another person.

What is a Felony DUI?

DUI

DOL

License Suspension

Request a DOL Hearing

DOL Hearing Process

Ignition Interlock

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

The existence of a “prior offense” or offenses is primarily the determining factor when the judge sentences a person for a DUI, and that person has one 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

At Callahan Law, P.S., Inc. our DUI Lawyers tackle tough issues for our clients every day, so don’t hesitate to schedule a free initial case appointment.

Your Free Consultation Starts Here

How is a Felony DUI Proven?

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).

A 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.

Linda M. Callahan - Author
Seattle DUI Attorneys
Learn More about DUI Defenses and Evidence
Learn More about Keeping Your Driving Privileges
We Author the DUI Manual Defense Attorneys rely on everyday for DOL Suspension Strategies.
Callahan Law PS Inc | Authors | Washington DUI Practice Manual

Let Us Be Your Legal Advocate

Contact one of our Experienced DUI Attorneys today and get the advice you need now.  Learn how to save your license and stay out of jail.

Linda M. Callahan - Best DUI Lawyer

With Offices in Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia and Shelton, we literally surround the Puget Sound.

81 S. Main St, Seattle, WA 98104

1107 Tacoma Ave S, Tacoma WA 98402

921 Lakeridge Way SW, Suite 102, Olympia WA 98502

1635 Olympic HWY N, Suite 101A, Shelton WA 98584

Copyright 2020 |  Callahan Law, P.S., Inc.

Disclaimer: The legal information presented on this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice, nor the formation of a lawyer or attorney client relationship. Any results set forth herein are based upon the facts of that particular case and do not represent a promise or guarantee.  This web site is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the state of Washington.