Washington Ignition Interlock Laws

Washington is no stranger to the problem of drunk driving on its highways. In 2008 Washington law enforcement arrested more than 37,000 individuals for drunk driving. Like all states in our country, the legislature and law enforcement agencies have made a concerted effort to enact stricter DUI regulations and be more vigilant in their enforcement.

Like all states, Washington DUI punishments depend greatly on the circumstances behind the arrest. Most notably, whether this is the first time an individual has been arrested for a DUI in the state or not. Other extenuating circumstances, like injuries due to auto accidents that occurred while under the influence, having minors in your car while you drive drunk, or the presence of an abnormally high BAC (usually above .15) can all result in harsher than normal penalties.

Washington is one of the few states that can require an Ignition Interlock Device be installed on your vehicle after your first DUI arrest. First time offenders can expect to have their licenses suspended for at least 90 days, pay fines no less than $350 and up to $5000 and spend anywhere from a day to a year in jail. If the court deems an Ignition Interlock device necessary on your first offense, you will have to have the device installed for a period of one year. 2nd time offenders will have to use the IID for 5 years, and for third and subsequent restrictions, the IID will be used for 10 years.

There are circumstances under which the court may deem an IID inappropriate. In order for this to happen, the court must, in writing make a finding that “the devices are not reasonably available in the local area, that the person does not operate a vehicle, or the person is not eligible to receive an ignition interlock driver’s license.”

By successfully separating drinking from driving, Smart Start has shown through widespread use in other states that the use of IIDs can help reduce the number of intoxicated drivers on our roads. It also prevents habitual DUI offenders from being able to drink and drive and by catching those who try, the authorities are able to place repeat offenders in substance abuse programs where there medical needs can be addressed.

Recidivism is especially high among the worst DUI offenders. In fact, statistics have shown that an individual who is involved in a fatal DUI accident is more likely to have been convicted of a prior DUI offense than not. These individuals are, in most cases, alcoholics that are unable to control their drinking. The presence of an IID is one of the few things that can prevent these drivers from getting behind the wheel because it disables the ability for that individual to start the car while they are inebriated.

For more information on how Smart Start of Washington can help you, or for more information on voluntary IIDs in the state, visit one of our IID locations, make an online appointment to visit one of our centers, or contact us today at 800-880-3394. We are here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, ready to serve you.

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