Prior DUI Conviction

Everyone knows that the penalties for a DUI conviction are worse if you have been convicted of DUI before. However, one unusual aspect of Washington State’s DUI laws is that you can be treated as if you have had a prior DUI conviction even if you have not actually had a prior DUI conviction.Under Washington’s current DUI law, If you were arrested and charged with DUI within the last 7 years, that charge will count against you as a DUI (even if that charge was subsequently reduced to a “lesser charge” through plea bargaining and you were never convicted of DUI).

This is true even though you might have been told at the time of the previous reduction that it would not count as a DUI conviction in the future. Even a successfully completed Deferred Prosecution, which resulted in dismissal of the previous DUI charge, will count as a prior if the arrest was within seven years of the current incident.

Keep in mind that a judge retains the right to consider convictions more than seven years before the current incident in imposing a stiffer sentence, but prior offenses within seven years give the judge no choice but to impose the mandatory stiffer sentence.

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A “prior offense” means any of the following:

  • A conviction of DUI or an equivalent local ordinance;
  • A conviction of Physical Control or an equivalent local ordinance;
  • A conviction of Vehicular Homicide committed while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug;
  • A conviction of vehicular assault committed while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug;
  • A conviction of Negligent Driving First Degree, Reckless Driving, Reckless Endangerment or an equivalent local ordinance, if the conviction is the result of a charge that was originally filed as a DUI or Physical Control;
  • An out-of-state conviction for a violation of any of the above listed offenses;
  • A deferred prosecution granted in a prosecution for a violation of a DUI, or an equivalent local ordinance; or
  • A deferred prosecution granted in a prosecution for Negligent Driving, or an equivalent local ordinance, if the charge under which the deferred prosecution was granted was originally filed as a DUI or Physical Control, or an equivalent local ordinance, or of Vehicular Homicide or Vehicular Assault.

“Within seven years” means that the arrest for a prior offense occurred within seven years of the arrest for the current offense.

**These laws are complex and must be read in the context of other Washington DUI laws in order to gain an accurate picture of the consequences of a DUI conviction in a particular factual setting.**

What Clients Say

Sharon is a high-caliber attorney who cares about her clients and gets results. Sharon worked a miracle for a loved one. She was kind, explained options in detail, and performed several negotiations with the prosecuting attorney. My loved one went from facing at least a year in jail to no jail time. Sharon and her staff are amazing. What qualifies me to give such a high opinion of Sharon? I have a very good friend who is an attorney, have experience with dozens of attorneys through work, and have needed the services of attorneys for my own legal needs. I’ll repeat this because it’s important: Sharon is a high-caliber attorney who cares about her clients and gets results. I highly recommend Sharon.
A DUI client
Sharon and her staff were kind and quite helpful to me. She really helped my case and did a fantastic job.I was always updated and if I had any questions they were answered timely and explained in a manner I could understand.
A DUI client
Came back from deployment & made a decision that was not smart. I drank & drove. Big mistake. Huge trouble. Sharon is an amazing, compassionate & respected lawyer. The Judge respected and seemed to favor Sharon. I felt my back was protected with her stewarding the way. She got me a terrific resolution, that was short of miraculous. My career is on track again. I will NEVER drink & drive. Dumbest thing I ever did. How can I think I was ok to drive when I was drinking. My thought process was already impaired. Sharon is great. I would text her and she communicated back quickly. She was available to see in person for appointments. Smart, funny, quick wit. Her staff is tops. I believe you get what you pay for and I am glad my money was spot on with Sharon.
Taylor, a DUI client

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      • Sharon is a member of the National College for DUI Defense
      • We are devoted to minimizing the impact the punishments have on your life and future
      • We consider the best interest of you and your family
      • We will guide you through the criminal justice system
      • We can also represent you during administrative driver’s licensing hearings before the Department of Licensing.

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