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Vernon A. Smith, Attorney at Law

425-457-7474

Driving Under the Influence: RCW 46.61.502

Washington State Drunk Driving Law - RCW 46.61.504,
Physical Control of Vehicle Under the Influence

(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 this state:
  • (a) And the person has, within two 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 a person charged with a violation of this section is or has been entitled to use a drug under the laws of this state does not constitute a defense against any charge of violating this section. No person may be convicted under this section 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 (1)(a) 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 hours after being in such control. 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) Analyses of blood or breath samples obtained more than two hours after the alleged being in actual physical control of a vehicle may be used as evidence that within two hours of the alleged being in such control, a person had an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more in violation of subsection (1)(a) 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 subsection (1)(b) or (c) of this section.

(5) A violation of this section is a gross misdemeanor.

[1998 c 213 / 5; 1994 c 275 / 3; 1993 c 328 / 2; 1987 c 373 / 3; 1986 c 153 / 3; 1979 ex.s. c 176 / 2.]

NOTES:

Rules of court: Bail in criminal traffic offense cases -- Mandatory appearance -- CrRLJ 3.2.

Effective date -- 1998 c 213: See note following RCW 46.20.308.

Short title -- Effective date -- 1994 c 275: See notes following RCW 46.04.015.

Legislative finding, purpose -- Severability -- 1987 c 373: See notes following RCW 46.61.502.

Severability -- 1979 ex.s. c 176: See note following RCW 46.61.502.

Criminal history and driving record: RCW 46.61.513.
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