Driving Under the Influence

According to Washington State law a Driving Under the Influence charge, or commonly referred to as a DUI, means operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of or affected by alcohol or drugs, including illegal, prescription and over the counter drugs.

DUI Charge

A DUI is determined by evaluating the blood alcohol content (BAC) of someone suspected of driving under the influence. Having a BAC of .08% or higher if you are over the age of 21 or .02% or higher if you are under the age of 21 constitutes being over the legal limit.

If you are pulled over for being suspected of driving under the influence you may be asked if you have been drinking or doing drugs, you may also be asked to take a field sobriety test and or a breath test. If you are placed under arrest you could be asked to take a blood test back at the station. You have the right to refuse to take a breath or a blood test but doing so will mean your license is automatically revoked for one year as stipulated by Washington State’s Implied Consent Law.

License Suspensions

If you are charged with a DUI in Washington State your license will not be suspended immediately but once the suspension does go into effect it could be suspended anywhere from ninety days to four years depending on your criminal record and BAC while driving. If you don’t have a license in Washington at the time of your arrest there will still be record of your suspension maintained by the Washington State Department of Licensing. If you carry a driver’s license in a state outside of Washington and are charged with Driving Under the Influence your charges will also be sent to that state and they may choose to suspend your license or take other action according to their state law.

Appealing a License Suspension

If arrested for a DUI you have twenty days to request a hearing. You may do so online at The Washington State Department of Licensing’s website or by filling out a Driver’s Hearing Request and sending it in. Either method has a $200 non-refundable fee that may be waived if your income level is below the state cut-off level.

At the hearing they take into consideration whether or not you were placed under arrest lawfully, if there were reasonable grounds to suspect that you were operating a motor vehicle under the effects of alcohol or drugs, if you were notified of the Implied Consent Warnings as required by state law, if you refused a breath or blood test, if the results of the breath or blood test indicated you were over the legal limit and if the breath or blood test was given according to state law.

If you win your license back at your hearing you can still be charged for a DUI by the courts and your driving privileges will still be suspended. If the courts reduce your charge from a DUI to Reckless Driving your driving record will reflect that but your license will still be suspended according to the DUI charge. If you are driving with a restricted or revoked license you may get an Ignition Interlock Driver License allowing you to drive with an ignition interlock device in your car for the length of your suspension but in doing so you waive your right to a hearing.

You can find out more information about appealing a license suspension in the letter that accompanied your license suspension or on the hearing section of the Department of Licensing’s website.

DUI Arrest in Seattle Washington

DUI Arrest in Seattle Washington