Washington State DUI

Seattle Municipal Code Provisions

Seattle Driving Under the Influence | DUI

SMC 11.56.020 Persons under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug.

A. Driving While Intoxicated.

1. A person is guilty of driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug if the person drives a vehicle within the City:

a. And the person has, within two (2) hours after driving, an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher, as shown by analysis of the person's breath or blood made under RCW 46.61.506; or

b. While the person is under the influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor or any drug; or

c. While the person is under the combined influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor and any drug.

2. The fact that any person charged with a violation of this subsection is or has been entitled to use a drug under the laws of this state shall not constitute a defense against any charge of violating this subsection.

3. It is an affirmative defense to a violation of subsection A1a of this section which the defendant must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant consumed a sufficient quantity of alcohol after the time of driving and before the administration of an analysis of the person's breath or blood to cause the defendant's alcohol concentration to be 0.08 or more within two (2) hours after driving. The court shall not admit evidence of this defense unless the defendant notifies the prosecution prior to the omnibus or pretrial hearing in the case of the defendant's intent to assert the affirmative defense.

4. Analysis of blood or breath samples obtained more than two (2) hours after the alleged driving may be used as evidence that within two (2) hours after the alleged driving a person had an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more in violation of subsection A1a of this section, and in any case in which the analysis shows an alcohol concentration above 0.00 may be used as evidence that a person was under the influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor or any drug in violation of subsections A1b or A1c of this section.

5. Driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug is a gross misdemeanor.

B. Physical Control.

1. A person is guilty of being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug if the person has actual physical control of a vehicle within the City:

a. And the person has, within two (2) hours after being in actual physical control of the vehicle, an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher, as shown by analysis of the person's breath or blood made under RCW 46.61.506; or

b. While the person is under the influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor or any drug; or

c. While the person is under the combined influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor and any drug.

2. The fact that any person charged with a violation of this subsection is or has been entitled to use a drug under the laws of this state shall not constitute a defense against any charge of violating this subsection. No person may be convicted under this subsection if, prior to being pursued by a law enforcement officer, the person has moved the vehicle safely off the roadway.

3. It is an affirmative defense to a violation of subsection B1a of this section which the defendant must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant consumed a sufficient quantity of alcohol after the time of being in actual physical control of the vehicle and before the administration of an analysis of the person's breath or blood to cause the defendant's alcohol concentration to be 0.08 or more within two (2) hours after being in actual physical control of the vehicle. The court shall not admit evidence of this defense unless the defendant notifies the prosecution prior to the omnibus or pretrial hearing in the case of the defendant's intent to assert the affirmative defense.

4. Analysis of blood or breath samples obtained more than two (2) hours after the alleged being in actual physical control of a vehicle may be used as evidence that within two (2) hours after the alleged being in actual physical control of a vehicle a person had an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more in violation of subsection B1a of this section, and in any case in which the analysis shows an alcohol concentration above 0.00 may be used as evidence that a person was under the influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor or any drug in violation of subsections B1b or B1c of this section.

5. Being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug is a gross misdemeanor.

C. Minor Driving Or Being In Actual Physical Control Of A Motor Vehicle After Consuming Alcohol.

1. Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, a person is guilty of minor driving or being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle after consuming alcohol if the person:

a. Operates or is in actual physical control of a motor vehicle in the City;

b. Is under the age of twenty-one (21); and

c. Has, within two (2) hours after operating or being in actual physical control of the motor vehicle, an alcohol concentration of at least 0.02 but less than 0.08, as shown by an analysis of the person's breath or blood made under RCW 46.61.506.

2. It is an affirmative defense to a violation of this subsection which the defendant must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant consumed a sufficient quantity of alcohol after the time of driving or being in actual physical control of the vehicle and before the administration of an analysis of the person's breath or blood to cause the defendant's alcohol concentration to be at least 0.02 but less than 0.08 within two (2) hours after driving or being in actual physical control of the vehicle. The court shall not admit evidence of this defense unless the defendant notifies the prosecution prior to the earlier of (a) seven (7) days prior to trial; or (b) the omnibus or pretrial hearing in the case of the defendant's intent to assert the affirmative defense.

3. Analysis of blood or breath samples obtained more than two (2) hours after the alleged driving or being in actual physical control of the vehicle may be used as evidence that within two (2) hours after the alleged driving or being in actual physical control of the vehicle a person had an alcohol concentration in violation of this subsection.

4. Minor driving or being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle after consuming alcohol is a misdemeanor.

D. Mandatory Appearance After Charging.

1. A defendant who is charged with a violation of this section shall be required to appear in person before a judicial officer within one (1) judicial day after the arrest if the defendant is served with a citation or complaint at the time of the arrest. The Municipal Court may by local court rule waive the requirement for an appearance within one (1) judicial day if it provides for the appearance at the earliest practicable day following arrest and establishes the method for identifying that day in the rule.

2. A defendant who is charged with a violation of this section and who is not served with a citation or complaint at the time of the incident shall appear in court for arraignment in person as soon as practicable, but in no event later than fourteen (14) days after the next day on which court is in session following the issuance of the citation or the filing of the complaint or information.

3. At the time of an appearance required by this subsection, the court shall determine the necessity of imposing conditions of pretrial release according to the procedures established by court rule for a preliminary appearance or an arraignment.

4. Appearances required by this subsection are mandatory and may not be waived.

5. Failure of the court to comply with the requirements of this subsection shall not be grounds for dismissal of any charge under this section nor the establishment of a constructive date of arraignment for purposes of Criminal Rule for Courts of Limited Jurisdiction 3.3.


1001 Fourth Avenue, Suite 2388
Seattle, Washington 98154