Washington Alcohol Laws
Where to Buy Alcohol
Beer, wine, and spirits are sold in package, or ABC, stores. Local ordinances prevail, but typically the stores are open 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Package stores can open on Sunday if local laws permit.
Beer and wine can be purchased in grocery stores and convenience marts seven days a week. Alcohol is served in bars and restaurants from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. every day.
Legal Age for Drinking/Serving Alcohol
While an individual at 18 may sell alcohol in a grocery or convenience store if properly supervised, the legal age is 21 to consume, sell, transport, or serve alcohol in every other capacity.
Open Container Laws
Previously opened bottles of alcohol must be transported in a car’s trunk under open container laws.
Learn about WA State DUI deferred prosecution.
A driver testing positive (breath, blood, or urine chemical tests) for a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of .08 percent or higher is considered ‘per se intoxicated.’ This means the state needs no further evidence to prosecute for driving under the influence (DUI).
A driver with a BAC level that is .15 percent over the legal state limit of .08 percent faces increased penalties for this enhanced blood-alcohol content.
Underage drivers are discouraged from drinking and driving through ‘zero tolerance laws.’ If a driver under the age of 21 has a BAC level when tested of just .02 percent or more, the courts can file DUI charges.
Under ‘implied consent laws,’ a driver must comply with a police officer’s request for chemical testing for intoxication through breath, blood, or urine screening. Refusing to cooperate carries penalties that can include mandatory suspension of a license for up to a year.
The DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) can suspend or revoke a driver’s license depending on the severity of the crime. In Washington, for the first DUI offense the mandatory suspension is 90 days; for the second offense, two years; for the third offense, three years.
Vehicle confiscation for a DUI is a potential penalty with the second offense.
An ignition interlock device attaches to the convicted DUI offender’s vehicle and requires the driver to perform a breath-test before the vehicle will start. This penalty is available to the courts in Washington.
Treatment, assessment, or education classes on alcohol abuse can be required for DUI offenders.
DUI is considered a felony after the fifth conviction.