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10 Laws You Should Know If You're in Washington State

By Brett Snider, Esq. on December 06, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Washington is the only state to be named after a U.S. president, and its legal legacy hardly stops there. The Evergreen State is chock full of unique laws and rules, and whether you're passing through or planning to put down roots, you should be aware of them.

Whether you're acting out your "Frasier" fantasy in Seattle or scaling Mount Rainier, you should really know these 10 laws:

  1. DUI threshold. Drinking and driving is illegal in Washington state. If you're under 21, you're presumed intoxicated if you blow more than a 0.02 percent on a Breathalyzer.
  2. Using your cell phone while driving. Don't try to use your cell phone without a hands-free device in Washington; texting or calling while driving is illegal.
  3. Getting a divorce. No need to get your spouse's infidelity involved in your divorce petition. Washington state only allows for "no-fault" divorce.
  4. Marital property division. The home state of Microsoft is also a community property state, so without an agreement like a prenup in place, marital property is presumed to be split 50/50.
  5. Injuries: Who's at fault? Regardless of how much fault you share for an accident, under Washington's negligence laws you will not be barred from suing.
  6. Marijuana laws. Washington was one of the first states to legalize recreational marijuana for adults 21 and over, with the first retail stores opening in July.
  7. Income tax. Like a handful of other states, Washington state has no income tax, but property and sales taxes fill in the gaps.
  8. Age restrictions. Washington state serves as the fictional backdrop for "Twilight," but you can't marry your Edward if you're under 18 without parental consent.
  9. Gambling law. The Evergreen State is fairly open to legal gambling; even workplace gambling is legal under certain circumstances.
  10. Guns. Planning on packing heat in Puyallup? Toting a Taurus revolver in Tacoma? You might have to wait up to 30 days to get a concealed weapons permit.

Don't let your grip on the law slip as you head to the Pacific Northwest. Learn more about Washington State by visiting FindLaw's section on Washington's laws.

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