A common question someone arrested for a Seattle DUI may ask is whether he or she will lose his driving privileges and have his driver's license suspended. But for starters, your license is not automatically suspended when the arresting officer puts a punch in your license.
If you get arrested for a DUI in Washington, there are 2 ways that your license could get suspended. First, the DOL will try to suspend or revoke your license under the implied consent law. Under RCW 46.20.308, a person's driving privilege will be suspended or revoked on the 61st day following their arrest (assuming it is a breath test or an alleged refusal, a blood draw will be longer period).
However, what you may not know is that you have the option of contesting the license suspension and can request a hearing with the Washington State Department of Licensing. You can download the driver's hearing request form and mail it in within 20 days of your arrest. The cost of the hearing has recently been increased to $375, so it is very wise to speak with an experienced DUI lawyer immediately after your arrest to discuss the DOL hearing process.
If you request a hearing for your license suspension within 20 days then the DOL will not suspend your driving privilege until AFTER the hearing and once a final decision is made. If the hearing examiner ultimately decides in your favor, you can avoid losing your driving privileges by the administrative action from the DOL and go and obtain a new driver's license without a hole punched in it..
Keep in mind that even if you prevail at the administrative hearing, the second way your license could be suspended is due to a criminal conviction for DUI. If convicted for DUI. your license will be suspended or revoked (anywhere from 90 days up to 4 years),. You will receive credit for any suspension time already served resulting from the arrest. So if you already served a 90-day suspension for your arrest by the DOL, that 90 days will be automatically credited toward the suspension time for the conviction.
Still, even if your license is suspended, you may be able to continue driving by getting a restricted license. This will typically require installing an ignition interlock device into your car.
Having your driver's license suspended for a suspected DUI wreaks havoc on your life. That's why if you face a drunk driving charge in Kirkland, Bellevue, Seattle or anywhere else in King County, you will want to work with an experienced DUI attorney. The award-winning and "superb" rated attorneys at Wolff Criminal Defense can help you on your defense and help you retain your driving privileges. Call us at 425-284-2000 to receive a free, confidential consultation. You can also visit our website at WolffCriminalDefense.com to set up a consultation.