Know the Law

WA State Laws: If you are under 21. . .

  • Zero Tolerance Law
    In Washington State if you are under the age of 21, you don’t even have to be buzzed to be busted. On your first offense with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of .02-.07 percent, you could lose your license for 90 days. On a subsequent offense, you could lose your license until you are 21.
  • Minor in Possession (MIP)
    You do not have to be in actual possession of alcohol to be cited for an MIP. If you are exhibiting the effects of having consumed alcohol (alcohol on your breath, results of a breathalyzer test, statements by others, etc.), you may be charged with an MIP offense. The maximum penalty is one year in jail, a $5,000 fine, or both.
  • MIP or Other Alcohol Violations: Lose Your Driver’s License
    If you are between the ages of 13 and 17, any alcohol or firearm offense could result in the loss of your driver’s license for one year, or until you are 17, whichever is longer. This includes Minor in Possession (MIP) and/or Consumption of Alcohol (MIC). (RCW 66.44.270 and RCW 10.31.100).
  • Purchase or Attempt to Purchase Alcohol
    Even if you are unsuccessful, if you attempt to purchase alcohol you can be charged with a misdemeanor. The maximum penalty is not more than 90 days in jail and a $1000 fine. However, you will be charged a minimum of $250 and, if community restitution is required, a minimum of 25 hours of restitution.
  • fake idFake ID’s
    Having a fake ID may seem fun at first, until you get caught with it. Consider these facts in Washington State.
    • It is illegal (misdemeanor) in Washington State to possess an ID not belonging to you (RCW 66.20.200).
      • Minimum Fine: $250, with a maximum of $1000.
      • Up to 90 days in jail.
      • If community restitution is required, a minimum of 25 hours community service.
    • It is illegal (misdemeanor) for any person to give or loan his ID to another person for the purpose of purchasing alcohol (RCW 66.20.200).
      • Minimum Fine: $250, with a maximum of $1000.
      • Up to 90 days in jail.
      • If community restitution is required, a minimum of 25 hours community service.
    • Thinking about making your own fake ID’s? It is a gross misdemeanor for any person to forge, alter, or manufacture false identification to supply to persons under 21 (RCW 66.44.328).
      • Minimum fine: $2,500.
      • Up to one year in jail.

DUI (Driving Under the Influence)

Driving under the influence (DUI) refers to operating a motor vehicle while affected by alcohol, drugs, or both. This includes both legal and illegal drugs, including prescription medication and over-the-counter drugs.

It is important to understand that even a small amount of alcohol can have an effect on motor skills and judgment. Your best choice is to not operate a motor vehicle if you have been drinking. Law enforcement can charge you with DUI even if your blood alcohol content is below .08 if they deem that you are impaired.

Motor vehicle incidents involving drunk or drugged driving cost our state thousands of dollars each year in serious injuries, property damage, medical costs, lost work time, and death. This does not include the emotional toll taken on friends and families of both those charged with DUI and the innocent victims.

Costs to individuals for DUI may include the following:

  • Jail time of up to one year
  • A fine from $350 - $5000
  • License suspension, which may impact your ability to work
  • A home monitoring system
  • The cost of electronic home monitoring
  • Increased insurance costs
  • Lawyers fees and court costs
  • Alcohol or drug treatment

A taxi is much cheaper than the total costs of the above!

For specific questions and answers about WA State laws regarding DUI’s, please go to the WA State Department of Licensing website

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance use, call the Recovery Helpline at 1-866-789-1511.



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