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You have three choices when it comes to a license suspension after a DUI arrest.
- Apply for a DOL Hearing to fight the suspension
- Apply for an Ignition Interlock License to drive during your suspension
- Not drive at all during your suspension
DOL Hearing Process
If you have been arrested or stopped for a DUI in Washington State, you will likely have an automatic Department of Licensing (DOL) Administrative Suspension. Here are some important facts to consider :
If you took the legal breath test at a police station or jail (not a road-side or hand-held breath test) and:
- the test result was .080 or higher (adult)
- or .020 or higher (under the age of 21)
- or you refused the legal breath or blood test
Contesting the DOL Suspension
YOU MUST REQUEST THIS HEARING WITHIN 7 DAYS OF YOUR ARREST (unless you provided a legal blood, not breath sample) or you will be denied a hearing.
To request a hearing, use the form law enforcement provided you at the time of arrest or release. If you were not given the form by law enforcement you may download the form by using this link: https://www.dol.wa.gov/forms/525001.pdf. or you can apply online if you have a Washington State Driver’s License by using the DOL’s free service called License Express.
If you do not request a hearing in a timely manner, your license will automatically be suspended or revoked. The time period depends on whether you took or refused to give a breath or blood sample, and whether you have a prior administrative action by DOL (for a previous similar offense) in the past seven years.
Mailing the DOL Hearing Form
Your Hearing Request must be accompanied by a check or money order for $375.00, or a completed “waiver” form if you believe you are indigent.
We suggest that you take your completed hearing request form into a post office and mail it at the counter. While at the counter, request a proof of mailing called a “certificate of mailing.”
Once the DOL receives your request and payment, they will mail you a notice with your administrative hearing date. (If you submitted a waiver of the fee, and they deny it, you must send payment to DOL immediately). Typically, the DOL will allow your hearing to be rescheduled, for a good reason, at least once.
DOL Hearing Facts
- All Department of Licensing administrative hearings are held telephonically.
- Your telephonic presence is not mandatory and may be waived.
- If your attorney requires you to testify, you will need to be available by phone or at the attorney’s office.
- Although your presence is not mandatory, you are certainly encouraged to listen in on your hearing. The testimony of an expert witness may be necessary if a medical condition or other issue is pivotal to winning your case. Your attorney will discuss this option with you ahead of time.
After your hearing, the DOL will mail you and your attorney a final decision.
In general, when a person is arrested for DUI in Washington State, there are two separate cases that arise: a criminal case with the court, and an administrative case with DOL to suspend or revoke the person’s license.
Criminal DUI Charge
Some courts can take several months before the person is charged and sent notice of their first court date. At the first court hearing, called an “arraignment”, the person pleads “not guilty” and the court imposes “conditions” upon the person while the case is pending. These conditions may include: posting bail or bond; not consuming alcohol, marijuana and non-prescribed drugs; not driving under the influence; not driving without a valid license and insurance. Following this you will receive notice of your next court date, usually a “pretrial hearing” to be held within 30-45 days. A person may have several pretrial hearings before the criminal case is resolved.
Department of Licensing
Unless a blood test was administered, DOL will usually “suspend” the person’s license 60 days from the date of the arrest, the same is true if DOL “revokes” the license due to the person refusing a breath or blood test. The arresting officer is required to give the person a notice that they have a right to a hearing to contest the suspension or revocation, HOWEVER, the request for a hearing MUST BE POSTMARKED within 20 days of the arrest (unless blood was drawn without a refusal).
Penalties for First Offense DUI In Washington
The penalties depend on whether you took the breath or blood test, refused the test, or for some other reason, there is no test result.
|Breath or Blood Test Between .080 & .149 or 5 ng or more of Marijuana or No Test Result||1 Prior Offense w/ 7 years||2 Prior Offenses w/ 7 years|
|Min/Max Jail Time||1 Day/ 364 days||30 days/ 364 days||90 days/ 364 days|
|Electronic Home Monitoring (EHM)||15 days instead of jail||60 days mandatory||120 days OR a minimum of 8 additional days jail|
|Min/Max Fine (fees/ assessments, not including probation fees)||$990.50 / $5k||$1,245.50 / $5k||$2,095.50 / $5k|
|License Suspension/ Revocation (Day for Day Credit given for administrative suspension/ revocation)||90 days||2 year revocation||3 year revocation|
|Diagnostic substance use evaluation and follow recommendations.||Required||Expanded Evaluation Required||Expanded Evaluation Required|
Breath or Blood Test between .080 and .149 or
5 ng or More of Marijuana or No Test Result:
- at least 24 hours in jail; or
- 15 days on ankle bracelet (EHM)
Breath or Blood Test .150 or Higher / Test Refused:
- at least 48 hours in jail; or
- 30 days on ankle bracelet (EHM).
Breath or Blood Test between .080 and .149 or 5 ng or More of Marijuana or No Test Result:
- at least $990.50
Breath or Blood Test .150 or Higher / Test Refused:
- at least $1,245.50
Breath or Blood Test Over .080 alcohol or 5ng or more of Marijuana or No Test Result:
- 90 Day Suspension
Breath or Blood Test Refused:
- 1 Year Revocation
- 1 Year Ignition Interlock (IID)
- Up to 5 years of Probation
- If child under 16 in the vehicle:
- 6 months added IID
- Additional 24 hours in jail
- Fine of $1,000 – $10,000
How a DUI Can Affect Your Everyday Life
A DUI conviction is a serious criminal offense that can never be vacated (expunged) from your criminal record, and will show up on a background check for the rest of your life. A first DUI conviction can put a person’s career and livelihood in jeopardy
Commercial Drivers (CDL) and Pilots
CDL Holders: A person who has a commercial driver’s license will lose their license for a year for a first offense DUI unless the court charge is reduced to a lesser offense, and the DOL hearing is won.
Pilots: All but military pilots must report the arrest and conviction on their FAA Airman’s Medical Form. A DUI conviction may put a commercial pilot’s career in jeopardy.
Other serious consequences of a first DUI may include:
- Increase in the cost of insurance
- Cancellation of insurance
- Difficulty renting a car
- Denial of entry to Canada for non-Canadian citizens
Learn More about DUI Defenses and Evidence
If you or a loved one has been arrested for drunk driving, give us a call today to discuss your case.
Call us directly at (206) 866-6739 or click the button below for our online form:
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Disclaimer: The legal information presented on this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice, nor the formation of a lawyer or attorney client relationship. Any results set forth herein are based upon the facts of that particular case and do not represent a promise or guarantee. This web site is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the state of Washington.