Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

Updated: Feb 24, 2021

Under former RCW 46.61.502(6)(a) (2016), driving under the influence is elevated from a gross misdemeanor to a felony if the defendant has "four or more prior offenses within ten years as defined in RCW 46.61.5055."


RCW 46.20.308 | Implied consent—Test refusal—Procedures.

(1) Any person who operates a motor vehicle within this state is deemed to have given consent, subject to the provisions of RCW 46.61.506, to a test or tests of his or her breath for the purpose of determining the alcohol concentration in his or her breath if arrested for any offense where, at the time of the arrest, the arresting officer has reasonable grounds to believe the person had been driving or was in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug or was in violation of RCW 46.61.503.


Standard field Sobriety Tests (Washington): Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN)

  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, or HGN, is the involuntary jerking of one's eye when it gazes to the side. It is often tested during a field sobriety test because the jerking can be even more exaggerated by alcohol consumption.

  • Merely shows physical signs consistent with ingestion of intoxicants. An officer may not testify in a manner that casts an "aura of scientific certainty to the testimony."

  • This test cannot be used to predict the specific level of alcohol or drugs in your system.


Standard field Sobriety Tests (Washington): Walk and Turn

  • Used to measure coordination, balance, and ability to follow instructions simultaneously.


Standard field Sobriety Tests (Washington): Single-leg Stand

  • 30 seconds is a threshold amount of time according to NHTSA.

  • Even very intoxicated individuals can sometimes last 25 seconds.