Written by Stryder Wegener
You are arrested for a DUI in Seattle and the officer hands you a form called to request a DOL (Department of Licensing) hearing. You might be wondering what a DOL hearing is. I am going to give you a quick overview of how to request the hearing and what it is.
The Penalties of Failing to Ask for a Hearing
If you fail to request a DOL hearing, your drivers license is suspended or revoked 60 days from the date of your arrest. If you choose to challenge this suspension, you have 20 days from the date of arrest to do so.
I recommend waiting until the very last minute without going over that 20-day mark. You must fill out the request paperwork; write a check for the fee (which is currently $375); and go into the post office to mail it ‘ also make sure you get a certificate of mailing to have proof it was actually mailed.
What Happens After You ask for DOL Hearing?
Once a hearing has been requested, a DOL hearing date will be set. There is the option of subpoenaing the officer or trooper. In the event that the subpoenaed officer/trooper fails to appear for the hearing, it is likely you will win. This does not happen frequently but it certainly does happen.
A DOL hearing is a telephonic hearing with a hearing examiner. The hearing examiner goes over the four issues ‘ I will discuss those shortly ‘ admits the exhibits (which is the police report), witnesses are sworn in, witnesses can give testimony, cross-examine the officer/trooper, and then any legal arguments are made. The hearing examiner has 6 weeks to make a decision. The decision will be mailed to you.
The four issues that the hearing examiner looks at are whether you were under lawful arrest, whether the officer had reasonable grounds to believe you were driving under the influence, whether you were properly advised of the implied consent warnings, and whether the BAC was properly administered if you chose to do the breath test.
Why We Crush DOL Hearings
My job is to scrutinize the police report. Did the officer make a complete report? Are there any defects? Do the dates add up? I also check the Washington State’s Patrol website to do research on the breath test machine.
Though DOL hearings are hard to win, they are worth taking the chance on. It’s an opportunity to cross-examine the officer and there is always the potential the officer will not show up.
Stryder J. Wegener is the managing partner and owner of Emerald City Law Group, a full-service Seattle law firm.