Physical Control

Under Washington DUI statute RCW 46.61.504, a person is guilty of DUI if they have actual physical control of a vehicle:

  1. and a BAC of .08 or higher within two hours after being in actual physical control; or
  2. while the person is under the influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor or any drug; or
  3. while the person is under the combined influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor and any drug.
    Actual physical control refers to situations where the car is not in motion, but capable of movement – such as when the keys are in the ignition and the car is parked.

If the car has been moved safely off the roadway prior to being pursued by a law enforcement officer, no person may be convicted of DUI under the physical control statute.

All violations of this statute are classified as gross misdemeanors unless the person is a juvenile, has four or more prior offenses within ten years, or if the person has been previously convicted of vehicular homicide while under the influence, vehicular assault while under the influence, or a comparable out-of-state offense. In such circumstances, the DUI may be charged as a Class C felony.

DUI and Physical Control, as gross misdemeanors, carry a maximum sentence of up to 364 days in jail and/or a $5,000 fine.

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