Q: So if I refuse a BAC test, I lose my license. But is that it? What are the other penalties in WA?
A: Complex question, I'll try to make it short.
Administratively you MAY lose your license. If you have no priors, the DOL will revoke for a year unless you successfully appeal. You may be able to drive during the revocation if you install an interlock and apply for a restricted license. The DOL will also require high risk insurance for three years.
If you are charged with DUI and a refusal, the penalties (compared to blowing over the limit) all increase. No matter how high the BAC would have been, refusal carries higher penalties. The Court can order your license revoked for two years, and fines (even on a first offense) are typically between $1,200 and $1,500. Mandatory jail is 48 hours, as opposed to 24 if you had a BAC up to .15.
Also, most prosecutors offices negotiate refusals differently, and not in a positive way for you.
None of this applies to the roadside tests, which most lawyers would recommend you decline to do; including the hand held breath test machine at the roadside.
Every case is different, do not rely on this as legal advice instead of individualized advice for your specific set of facts.
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