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DUI offense when minor and now

Washington |

I was convicted to a DUI when I was 17 (they took my license away) and now I have been cited again (I am now 25.) Because I was only 17 the first time, will I be treated as if this was my first one?

Attorney Answers 4

  1. Juvenile court has jurisdiction over cases where defendants under the age of 16 are charged with DUI, so your case was most assuredly heard in the Municipal or District Court since you were 17. You could have been charged with Minor DUI on the original charge and that would not be considered a prior offense for sentencing purposes regarding a new offense within a seven year period, but since you had a license suspension (not applicable on a Minor DUI) you were charged with DUI as an adult under the statute on the original charge. Prior offenses affect the mandatory minimum sentence imposed on subsequent offenses within a seven (7) year period if the charge results in a conviction. The date of violation is the critical date used in determining whether the seven year period has elapsed. This means that if you were arrested on the prior offense and had a subsequent offense within seven years of the original date of violation on the first charge it would be a second offense for sentencing purposes. Therefore, the new charge (at age 25) is a second offense, but it would be treated as a first offense for sentencing purposes since the date of violation (i.e. arrest) was outside of 7 years.

    Since you are again charged with DUI, you will face a license suspension depending upon (1) whether you requested an administrative hearing within 30 days from the date of your arrest on the new charge and (2) the outcome of that hearing. The length of the suspension will be determined by the date the Department of Licensing originally suspended your privilege on the first offense and whether the new charge (at age 25) counts as a new action within a seven year period as far as DOL goes. If you lose the hearing you will face a minimum 90 day license suspension unless the DOL determines that this is a subsequent offense within 7 years of the prior administrative action. If this is considered a subsequent offense within 7 years, then you will face a two (2) year license suspension.

    I am happy to further discuss the consequences of your DUI charge; simply visit my site at for contact information.

  2. yes and no. The sentencing sceme in Washington contemplates increased minimum jail times for people with prior DUIs within a 7 year period. Since there was about 8 years between your 2 arrests, the law will only require a mandatory minimum of 1 or 2 days, depending on the breath test. However, the prosecutor and judge will know about the previous DUI. The prosecutor will likely take it into account when making a plea offer and the judge will likely take it into account when sentencing.

  3. You are likely to be impacted by a federal "compact" (a federally-enforced agrrement --- similar to a treaty between states) --- that requires extreme oversight and control of your ability to travel out of state when you are on probation for a SECOND DUI in your LIFETIME. See this web site: Start reading Rule 2.15 and read the next dozen rules or so. Regardless of fines, jail, community service hours and other state-imposed punishment, this probation oversight agreement can limit your job options, your ability to travel to see relatives, etc.

  4. Your age isn't the factor that will determine whether or not this is treated as a first offense.

    What determines that is the timeline. Was your first arrest more than seven years prior to your second arrest? If so - for mandatory sentencing purposes, your second arrest is a "first offense". Either way, the court can certainly see that you had a prior, and may take that into consideration at sentencing, if needed.

    You should definately consult with and hire a DUI attorney as soon as you can.

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