In Washington, driving under the influence (DUI) includes a driver intoxicated by alcohol and/or impaired by drugs. This includes prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, and illegal narcotics.
For Washington residents, both being arrested and convicted of a DUI comes with unique consequences that affect your driving privileges. This can make it difficult for you to do routine things like go to work, pick up your children from school and even run basic everyday errands like grocery shopping.
If you're arrested for a DUI in Washington, the ultimate outcome of your case will dictate for how long your license will be suspended and under what circumstances you may be able to reinstate your driving privileges more quickly.
There are two separate types of DUI-related license suspensions in Washington. The first is if you're arrested for driving under the influence. The second is if you're ultimately convicted of a DUI.
After an arrest, your license will automatically be suspended. The only way to prevent the automatic suspension is by requesting a hearing within 20 days of your arrest. If the hearing officer sides with you, you'll be able to hold onto your driver's license until the outcome of your case is determined.
However, if the hearing officer doesn't rule in your favor or you fail to request the hearing within 20 days of your arrest, your license will automatically be suspended anywhere from 90 days to 2 years.
The length of the suspension will depend on whether or not you were previously convicted of a DUI and the nature of your current DUI case (i.e., if it resulted in an accident with injuries or extensive property damage).
In either event, your license suspension will go into effect 60 days after your arrest.
If you're ultimately convicted of driving under the influence, your license can be suspended anywhere from 90 days all the way up to 4 years. Again, the length of the suspension is typically determined by any previous DUI convictions and the nature and severity of your current DUI case.
Your suspension will begin 45 days after the Washington State Department of Licensing receives notice from the court that you were convicted.
You may be able to restore your driving privileges if you agree to install an ignition interlock device (IID) on your vehicle. An IID tests for blood alcohol content before you are able to start your car and begin driving. The IID would need to be installed on your car for the same amount of time that your license would have been suspended.
The Washington State Department of Licensing will offer personalized instructions to reinstate your license and inform you what fees you will have to pay. These instructions are often sent to you in a letter following your license suspension.
If you're serious about getting your license back, it's always best to consult with a DUI attorney at Peters Associates. Our attorneys will use their knowledge of Washington's unique laws to determine what course of action is available, if any, to restore your driving privileges as soon as possible following a DUI conviction.