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Is a DUI in WA state a misdemeanor or a gross misdemeanor ?

Seattle, WA |

What is the difference between a misdemeanor and a gross misdemeanor?

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Attorney answers 3


DUI (or physical control) is a gross misdemeanor in Washington. A gross misdemeanor carries the potential of 1 year in jail, a $5000 fine and 2 years probation (except DUI which has a maximum 5 years probation). More importantly there are mandatory jail sentences, fines, license suspensions and more.

Minor DUI (under 21 and between .02-.08) is a simple misdemeanor. A misdemeanor has a maximum possible sentence of 90 days, a $1000 fine and 2 years of probation.


Mr. Lawrence is quite correct. DUI is a gross misdemeanor (unless you have a number of priors - when it CAN be a felony).

In Washington a Gross Misdemeanor is punishable by up to 365 days in jail and/or a $5000 fine. However, DUI has mandatory MINIMUM penalties which include jail time and a license suspension.

If you've been charged, you should consult a DUI attorney imeediately.

Call my office for your FREE CONSULTATION at 425-424-9401.


The answer depends on prior history. In some instances, a person with numerous prior DUIs can be charged (and convicted) of Felony DUI, and can be sentenced to up to five years in jail.

In a normal case, DUI is a gross misdemeanor. Gross misdemeanors are punishable by up to a year in jail and a $5000 fine, while misdemeanors are punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1000 fine.

Also note that if a person is convicted (as opposed to charged) of a DUI, there are minimum penalties based on a variety of factors. These minimum penalties range from a low of 1 day in jail and $866 fine, all the way to 120 days in jail or more with at least a $2800 fine.

Fine amounts do not include cost of probation, drug and alcohol treatment, license suspension, and other headaches.

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