Dui License Suspension In Washington State

by ECL Writer
How To Get Your License Back After A DUI (Washington State)

One of the gravest offenses that can jeopardize this privilege is driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs. DUI incidents are not only dangerous but can also lead to serious legal consequences, including the suspension of your driver’s license. Washington State has some of the strictest DUI laws in the nation, and understanding the intricacies of DUI license suspension in Washington State is crucial for every driver.

In this article, Eastcoastlaws.com will delve into the specifics of DUI license suspension in Washington State, exploring the legal framework, the consequences of a DUI arrest, and the steps you can take to protect your driving privileges. Whether you’re a resident of the Evergreen State or simply interested in understanding how DUI laws work in different regions, this guide will provide you with valuable insights into a topic that affects countless individuals each year.

What is DUI?

Driving while intoxicated (DUI) refers to doing so while under the influence of either alcohol, drugs, or both. This holds true for both legal and illicit drugs, including both prescription and non-prescription medicines.

Understanding Washington State Dui

Under Washington DUI laws, you can be charged with a drunk driving offense in the following situations:

  • You have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher
  • You have a BAC of .02 or higher if you are under 21 under zero-tolerance laws
  • You are driving under the influence of any combination of alcohol or drugs that affects your driving

The definition of a drug includes any chemical that has been inhaled or ingested due to its hallucinatory or intoxicating effects.

What Happens When You Are Arrested for a Washington DUI?

If you are arrested for DUI in Washington and there is reasonable suspicion that you were driving while intoxicated, you must comply with implied consent legislation that requires you to submit to a chemical test. A driver’s license is suspended for at least a year if they refuse to take the exam.

If you don’t pass the test, your license may be suspended administratively. Depending on whether you have a history of offenses, the administrative suspension will begin 30 days after your arrest and last between 90 days and two years.

This administrative suspension takes place before any criminal proceedings and is separate from any conviction in a criminal matter. However, you do have seven days to ask for a hearing to challenge this administrative license suspension.

In addition to the administrative suspension, you’ll probably face accusations from the prosecutor. If found guilty, these actions could lead to a conviction in court and the imposition of criminal penalties.

Dui License Suspension In Washington Stat

DUI results in 2 different license suspensions or revocations:

  • If you are apprehended for DUI:

Your driver’s license will be subject to suspension unless two conditions are met:

  • You promptly request a hearing to challenge the suspension within 7 days following your arrest.
  • The hearing examiner ultimately rules in your favor.

Depending on prior infractions and the seriousness of the occurrence, your license may be suspended for 90 days to 2 years if you don’t ask for a hearing or if the hearing examiner rules against you. After 30 days from the date of your arrest, your suspension will start. See Hearings, the hearing request form that the arresting officer issued, or the letter we sent you for more information.

Your driver’s license will be suspended as a result of the court’s conviction if the hearing examiner rules in your favor but the judge still finds you guilty of DUI. A favorable hearing verdict solely affects the suspension brought on by the arrest.

  • If you’re convicted of DUI in court:

Depending on your prior convictions and the seriousness of the act, they may suspend your driver’s license for 90 days to 4 years. 45 days after they get notification from the court indicating that you were found guilty, the suspension will start.

Any suspension time arising from your arrest will be credited to you. Therefore, if you previously completed a 90-day suspension for your arrest, those 90 days will be added automatically to the suspension period for the conviction.

You can request a review of the veracity of the data provided by the court, but you cannot apply for a hearing to challenge a suspension brought on by a court conviction.

Avoid further suspension

To prevent additional suspensions and fees, you can do the following:

  1. Ensure you have received full credit for the time already served for the same incident.
  2. Meet and ensure that we receive the following requirements:
    • Submit a paid fee for the same incident.
    • Comply with the ignition interlock installation requirements.
    • Satisfy the alcohol assessment and treatment report requirements.
    • Fulfill financial responsibility obligations, if applicable

Getting a restricted license during your suspension

You are eligible to apply for an Ignition Interlock Driver License (IIL), which will allow you to operate an ignition interlock-equipped car while your driver’s license is suspended or revoked.

Guide On Contesting A Dui License Suspension  

  • From the date of arrest, you have 7 days to request a DUI hearing (to contest the license suspension). If a hearing is not requested, the license suspension will go into effect 30 days after the arrest date. The license suspension can be anywhere from 90 days to 2 years for a first offense.
  • The hearing can be requested online or by mail, along with the $375 hearing fee. There is also an option for a hearing fee waiver if you are found to be indigent.
  • If the hearing request is made within the allowable time frame, the DOL will set a date for a DUI hearing with one of its hearing examiners. The hearing examiners are employees of the DOL and are not judges, but they are supposed to be impartial in their decision-making.
  • The DUI hearing will take place over the telephone. The hearing examiner will only consider four issues: (1) whether you were under lawful arrest, (2) whether the officer had reasonable grounds to believe that you had been driving or were in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of liquor or drugs, (3) whether you were properly advised of the Implied Consent Warnings, and (4) whether you were over the legal limit or refused the breath test.
  • After the hearing is over, the hearing examiner will either make a decision on the hearing date or mail out a decision after the hearing.
  • Once a decision has been made, you may appeal it within 30 days through the superior court in the county in which you were arrested.
  • If the Department of Licensing maintains the suspension, you may be eligible to drive with an ignition interlock device in your vehicle for the duration of the suspension. You should not apply for an ignition interlock license without first consulting with an attorney, since the right to a DUI hearing and appeal will be waived once an ignition interlock license is issued.

Penalties For Washington State DUI

Criminal penalties apply only if you plead guilty or if you are found guilty of a crime under Washington DUI laws. Here are the possible consequences of a conviction.

OffenseJail TimeFinesLicense Suspension
First offense with a BAC below 0.15%Minimum 24 consecutive hours. Maximum 364 days$990.50 to $5,00090 days
First offense with a BAC of .15% or higher or after refusing a BAC testMinimum 48 consecutive hours. Maximum 364 days$1,245.50 to $5,0001 year revocation or 2 year revocation if you refused a BAC test
Second offense with a BAC below 0.15%Minimum 30 days and maximum 364 days$1,245.50 to $5,0002 year revocation
Second offense with a BAC of .15% or higher or after refusing a BAC testMinimum 45 days and maximum 364 Days$1,670.50 to $5,000900 day revocation or 3 Years if BAC refused
Third or subsequent offense with a BAC below 0.15%Minimum 90 days and maximum 364 Days$2,095.50 to $5,0003 year revocation
Third or subsequent offense with a BAC below 0.15%Minimum 120 days and maximum 364 Days$2,945.50 to $5,0004 year revocation

There are many aggravating factors that can result in harsher penalties including a longer license suspension, a higher fine, or an expanded alcohol assessment and treatment program. This DUI sentencing grid can help you to better understand the potential consequences of a conviction under Washington DUI laws.

Can You Get DUI Charges Dropped in Washington?

Unfortunately, a conviction for driving while intoxicated stays forever on your driving record in the state of Washington. There are options for removing more offenses from your record. The state wants to make sure that prior convictions are obvious if a driver is charged with DUI many times.

Therefore, there is no chance of having DUIs erased. Because of this, we firmly advise hiring a successful, knowledgeable DUI attorney in Washington to make sure that every effort is taken to first lower the charge of a DUI. One of the hardest consequences of a DUI may be the fact that it stays on a person’s criminal record.

A DUI can make it challenging to find work, find housing, qualify for student loans, and even conflict with child custody. Your response to a recent DUI arrest can have a significant impact on your future.

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