Seattle DUI Driving Issues

Any component of a DUI charge that involves driving is handled by the Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL). The common licensing issues that arise in DUI charges are addressed below.

Washington Implied Consent Law

In the state of Washington driving is a privilege, not a right. The state maintains the right to put any provisions that are not considered unconstitutional nor discriminatory on obtaining or maintaining a driver’s license. When anyone applies for a driver’s license in the state of Washington they are required to sign documentation agreeing to submit to a chemical test evaluating blood alcohol content (BAC) in the case that they are arrested for a DUI, Physical Control or Minor DUI. This means that by driving within the state you have already given implied consent to taking a test measuring your BAC. You have the right to refuse to submit to a chemical test but doing so will result in the immediate revocation of your driver’s license as stipulated by Washington state’s Implied Consent Law (RCW 46.20.308). If you do in fact submit to the chemical test and are found to be over the legal limit of .08% BAC if you are over the age of 21 or .02% if you are under the age of 21 then your license will be suspended by the Department of Licensing for a minimum of 90 days.

Any action taken by the Department of Licensing is considered civil and separate from any actions taken by the court, which are considered criminal. Regardless if the court finds you not guilty or dismisses the charges for any other reason you can still face suspension or revocation of your license from the DOL. The conviction of a DUI from the courts and the preservation of your license from the DOL work independently from one another.

Steps Following a DUI Arrest

Once you are placed under arrest you will be taken to the station. At the station you will either submit to a breath test and blow over the legal limit or you will refuse to do so, as you have the right to do. Under either circumstance your Washington State driver’s license will then be punched and thus becomes temporary. You are still legally allowed to drive until the 61st day after your arrest at which point your license will either be suspended or revoked. This suspension or revocation will happen automatically unless you have requested a hearing to dispute it. You have twenty days after your arrest to file such an administrative hearing. If you do not file within twenty days or do not pay the $200 fee required for the hearing your license will be suspended on the 61st day. Since time is so critical it is in your best interest to contact a DUI attorney immediately following an arrest.

Administrative Hearing

After you have requested your hearing you and your attorney will be notified as to when it will take place. It will be scheduled within sixty days of when the arrest took place. The hearings are presided over by a randomly assigned hearing examiner, not a judge, and the event is done telephonically. The administrative hearing resolves whether or not the arrest was lawful, if the officer had grounds to believe the driver was driving under the influence, if the driver was advised of their rights and if the driver was found to be over the legal BAC or refused a chemical test to determine if their BAC. The arresting officer is not required to testify at the hearing unless the driver has made a request for them to do so. The driver is also not required to be present or give testimony if they wish to waive their presence and instead be represented solely by their attorney. Generally the hearing examiner will issue a written conclusion within a week of the hearing, though depending on the examiner it can take a matter of months. Until a conclusion has been reached the suspect is legally allowed to drive.

Ultimately the hearing attempts to determine if the four legal questions spelled out above have been answered affirmatively. If they were the examiner sustains the Department of Licensing’s decision to revoke the suspect’s driving privileges, if not they dismiss the Department of Licensing’s decision to revoke the suspect’s driving privileges and reinstate the suspect’s license. Those are the only two potential outcomes of the hearing which is why it is so critical if you are facing a suspension or revocation of your license to consult an attorney.

Seattle DUI Attorney 123

Seattle DUI Attorney 123