A driver is guilty of driving while under the influence of drugs if he/she:

  • Has, within two hours after driving, a THC concentration of 5.00 or higher as shown by analysis of the person’s blood,
  • Is under the influence of or affected by marijuana, or any drug, or
  • Is under the combined influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor, marijuana, and any drug

A person is considered “under the influence of drugs” or “affected by the use of drugs,” if the person’s ability to drive a motor vehicle is lessened in any appreciable degree.


The penalties for a drug DUI differ depending on the number of times a person has committed the offense.

first-time offense is punishable by

  • A fine between $350 and $5,000, and /or
  • Custody in jail for a period of one day to 364 days.

second offense is punishable by:

  • A fine between $500 and $5,000, and/or
  • Custody in jail for a period of 30 days to 364 days.

 A third offense is punishable by:

  • A fine between $1,000 and $5,000, and/or
  • Custody in jail for a period of 90 days to 364 days.

With a third offense, an offender will also be enrolled in the state’s 24/7 sobriety program for a period of six months.

In addition to the above penalties, the court reports all drug DUI cases to the Washington Department of Licensing. Once the Department learns of a conviction, it can then suspend the offender’s driver’s license. In the case of a third-time offense, the Department can even revoke a person’s license for three years.


Fortunately, a person accused of this crime can challenge the accusation with a legal defense. The most common defense is for a defendant to show that he/she was not under the influence of drugs at the time he/she was stopped. A defendant builds this defense by using the facts of the case, including the results of any field sobriety tests.

An accused can also challenge a charge by using standard defenses used in DUI cases involving alcohol. These include the defendant showing that:

  • There was no “probable cause” for law enforcement to initiate a traffic stop or DUI investigation, and
  • The defendant was not properly advised of his/her “right to remain silent” and other Miranda rights before being interrogated.

While a person can defend against a drug DUI case, an effective defense requires help from a skilled Seattle drug attorney. The criminal defense lawyers at Black & Askerov have over 25 years of experience in helping clients fight drug DUI and drug-related charges. These attorneys are tireless in their efforts and passionate in their defense. Do yourself a favor and contact them now for help.


We serve clients throughout Washington including those in the following localities: King County including Bellevue, Kent, and Seattle; Benton County including Kennewick; Chelan County including Wenatchee; Clallam County including Port Angeles; Grays Harbor County including Aberdeen; Kitsap County including Port Orchard; Kittitas County including Ellensburg; Pierce County including Tacoma; Skagit County including Mount Vernon; Snohomish County including Everett; Spokane County including Spokane; Thurston County including Olympia; Whatcom County including Bellingham; and Yakima County including Yakima.