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Washington Underage DUI Laws

Posted by William Kirk, Partner | Apr 26, 2014 | 0 Comments

Many individuals assume that the only standard for a DUI in Washington is the 0.08 percent blood alcohol limit. However, drivers -- especially college-age drivers -- should know that a different standard applies to individuals under the age of 21.

Underage Blood Alcohol Limit

Washington law provides that a driver under the age of 21 can be charged with driving under the influence if he or she has a blood alcohol content above 0.02 percent. This is a very low threshold, and drivers should know that they could be charged with a crime for even having one beer if that pushes their blood alcohol level above the legal amount. It will not be a valid defense that you are not actually impaired and can drive fine.

Penalties for a DUI Conviction

An underage drinker faces a variety of penalties for a DUI. Some of the most common penalties that a King County DUI attorney can explain to you for a first-time offender include:

  • Up to one year in jail
  • Possible $5,000 fine
  • 90-day driver's license suspension
  • Requirement to install an ignition interlock device
  • Non-DUI related penalties such as citation for underage drinking, minor in possession of alcohol, and potentially child endangerment

You should keep in mind that if you are a repeat DUI offender, you face much greater penalties. In addition, you will likely face other penalties such as an increase to your auto insurance premiums.

Contact a King County DUI Attorney

If you have been charged with underage drinking and driving in the King County area, you will want to contact an experienced DUI attorney. Contact an attorney at Cowan Kirk Gaston Wolff to discuss the specifics of your case by calling (425) 822-1220.

About the Author

William Kirk, Partner

Bill Kirk has been named a Super Lawyer by Washington Law and Politics Magazine every year since 2003. He currently serves on the Board of Regents to the National College for DUI Defense and is the President of the Washington Foundation for Criminal Justice. Bill is one of only two attorneys in this state to pass the National College's Board Certification Exam.


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Cowan Kirk is known throughout Washington and the nation for representing all of its clients with commitment, creativity and compassion. We recognize how devastating a DUI charge can be, particularly when our clients learn how incredibly tough Washington's DUI laws have become, even for a first-time offender.

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