Close X

Vernon A. Smith, Attorney at Law

425-457-7474

Protect Your WA Driver's License in a DUI Proceeding

To prevent your license from being revoked,
you must act with 20 days!

The Department of Licensing (DOL) will suspend your license administratively if you are an adult arrested for DUI (or physical control) and have a breath or blood test result of .08 or higher; or if you are under age 21 and your test result is .02 or higher. Your license will be revoked for at least one year if you refuse testing.

To prevent that from occurring automatically, you must request a hearing from DOL within 20 days of the date you were arrested.

When you were released from custody, the officer should have punched a hole in your license (making it into a temporary license, valid for 60 days), given you a copy of the breath test result, and given you a hearing request form.

Unless you send in the hearing request form (and pay a $375 fee, unless indigent) within 20 days of your arrest, you will lose your license and have no right to appeal! (In blood test cases, the 20-day time period commences on the day DOL mails you notice of your blood test result)

Your hearing request (using the form given to you by the arresting officer) must be postmarked no later than the 20th day after arrest. For that reason, you should use registered or certified mail so that you can prove when you mailed the form (Do not forget to include the $200 hearing fee). Once you have requested a hearing, DOL must provide the hearing (in person or by telephone) within 60 days of the date of arrest.

The Department's action proceeds totally independently from any criminal prosecution, and, depending on the nature of the action, a suspension or revocation may run in addition to or at the same time as a suspension or revocation resulting from a criminal conviction.

Revocations based on a refusal to be tested will run in addition to any license suspension resulting from a conviction. Suspensions or revocations based on flunking the test may run at the same time as a suspension or revocation resulting from conviction.

Refusals

ADULTS

First refusal within 7 years with no other previous administrative suspensions: 1 year revocation Prior refusal or first refusal with a prior administrative suspension within 7 years: 2 year revocation

DRIVERS UNDER AGE 21

First refusal within 7 years with no other previous administrative suspensions: 1 year revocation Prior refusal or first refusal with a prior administrative suspension within 7 years: 2 year revocation or until age 21, whichever is longer Breath or Blood Tests

ADULT ARREST WITH TEST RESULT OF .08 OR ABOVE
  • First administrative suspension in 7 years: 90 day suspension
  • Second administrative action within 7 years: 2 year revocation
  • Suspension or revocation can be stayed if you enter into a deferred prosecution program.
UNDER AGE 21 WITH ALCOHOL LEVEL ABOVE .02
  • First administrative suspension within 7 years: 90 day suspension
  • Second administrative action within 7 years: 1 year suspension, or until age 21, whichever is longer
  • Suspension can be stayed if you enter into a deferred prosecution program.
Temporary Restricted Licenses (TRL)

NEW IGNITION INTERLOCK LICENSE!
Effective January 1, 2009, our State enacted a new form of license: the Ignition Interlock License (IIL). The new law affects several important rights of the driver/accused.

First and foremost, you must request a hearing to contest your administrative suspension for driving with a BAC level at or above 0.08 or for refusing a lawful request for a breath or blood test within 20 days of the arrest, not 30 days as is the requirement for arrests prior to 1/1/09. If you fail to timely send in your request for a hearing, your only option is to apply for the IIL or you must not drive during the time of your license suspension.

Second, if you request an IIL in lieu of contesting the administrative license suspension, you thereby waive any right to the administrative hearing or appeal after that hearing.

And third, for DUI arrests after 1/1/09, you are no longer eligible for an Occupational Restricted License (ORL - see below). (Drivers with licenses suspended for Reckless Driving convictions or administrative suspensions based on unpaid tickets will still be eligible for an ORL.)
Finally, persons granted an IIL or a ORL must still submit proof of SR-22 insurance to the Department of Licensing for 3 years.
ADVANTAGES OF THE IGNITION INTERLOCK LICENSE OVER THE OCCUPATIONAL LICENSE

  1. The best advantage is that you will not lose your privilege to drive for even 1 day. This is true whether you take the breath/blood test or refuse it, whether this is your first DUI arrest or your 2nd, 3rd, or 4th!
  2. There is no waiting period. There is no suspension period that must be served before becoming eligible for the IIL.
  3. There are no restrictions on your license beyond the requirement that 1) you have a functioning IID installed in the vehicle you are driving; and 2) that you have SR-22 insurance on the vehicle you are driving. Unlike the ORL, you are not restricted as to where or when you drive.

DISADVANTAGES OF THE IGNITION INTERLOCK LICENSE OVER THE OCCUPATIONAL LICENSE
Often, the earliest opportunity you and your defense attorney have to review the police report in your criminal case arises from the DOL hearing you request to contest your administrative license suspension.

  1. This report gives your attorney an opportunity to better assess the legal and factual defenses in your criminal case and it is the only way to determine the existence and strength of any defenses in your administrative license suspension.
  2. By not requesting a hearing, no police report will be provided until your case is filed in the District or Municipal Court. By then, your opportunity to contest the administrative suspension of your license will be long gone.
  3. By requesting a hearing, even when there are no defenses or only weak defenses in your administrative hearing, your attorney has the opportunity to subpoena and then question under oath the officer in your case. This testimony can then be transcribed and used to impeach the officer should he/she testify differently in the criminal case. This opportunity is, of course, lost when you fail to request a hearing. And if the officer fails to appear at the DOL hearing (by phone), the administrative action against your license may be dismissed altogether.
  4. For all of these reasons, it may be in your best interest to request the hearing. Once the police report arrives, you and your lawyer can then decide whether to hold the hearing or cancel it and request an IIL.
Occupational Restricted Licenses (ORL)

Occupational Restricted Licenses (ORL) are available to anyone convicted of reckless driving and for drivers whose licenses have been administratively suspended for reasons such as unpaid tickets. Depending on the basis for the suspension, there may be a waiting period while suspended before you are eligible to apply for the ORL. As with an IIL, high risk (SR-22) insurance will still be required for 3 years. As the title suggests, ORLs are restricted to days and times that correspond to your work schedule, although it may be possible to obtain the ORL for additional needs related to education and health care.

Go to Top