Written by Stryder Wegener
Anyone can be guilty of a simple mistake, but the stakes are higher when you’re convicted for violating Washington’s statute on driving under the influence (DUI). Upon conviction, you face potential incarceration and fines, and there may also be consequences for your driving privileges. Being unable to legally drive has a significant impact on every aspect of your life. In this situation, you might be asking yourself, “what will happen to my driver’s license if I’m convicted of DUI?”
At Emerald City Law Group, we know that Washington’s drunk driving laws can seem confusing as they pertain to your rights and driving privileges. While our Seattle DUI lawyers can explain the implications of a conviction, we’re also dedicated to exploring options for your defense. To schedule a free and confidential consultation of your case, contact us today at (206) 973-0407.
Your Driving Privileges in a DUI Case
When you’re arrested for DUI, your driver’s license will automatically be suspended 30 days after your arrest – unless you request a hearing to dispute the charges. You have seven days after your arrest to file the official Hearing Request Form with the Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL). The length of the suspension ranges from 90 days to two years, depending upon the circumstances of your situation, and whether you have a prior criminal history involving drunk driving. If the DOL official decides in your favor, your driver’s license is not suspended pursuant to this hearing process.
If you’re convicted in court for DUI, your driver’s license will still be suspended. However, the suspension period begins 45 days after the DOL receives notice of the conviction. Again, the length of the suspension will depend upon the severity of the offense and your prior history. You could lose your driving privileges for 90 days up to four years.
It is possible to prevail at the DOL hearing, but receive a driver’s license suspension due to a conviction in criminal court. A decision in your favor by the DOL official only applies to the suspension that was triggered by your arrest.
Legal Options Regarding Ignition Interlock
During the period of your driver’s license suspension, you may be able to obtain a restricted driver’s license. You must file an official request that is approved by the court. There could be challenges in getting the court to allow a restricted license if the circumstances of your DUI were extreme or unfavorable. Examples include resisting arrest or driving drunk with a child in your car.
If the court does grant a restricted driver’s license, you will be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) on your vehicle. This equipment will not allow your car to start if it detects alcohol when you blow into it. You’re responsible for all fees related to the IID, including installation and monthly service costs.
Consult with an Experienced DUI Lawyer on Defense Strategies
If your ability to drive is affected by an arrest for drunk driving, every aspect of your life will be affected. Losing your license can impact your ability to get to school, work, and other activities. If you’ve been arrested for DUI in Washington, you might be asking yourself, “what will happen to my driver’s license?” In such a situation, you should discuss your circumstances with a knowledgeable drunk driving defense attorney. There may be strategies for attacking weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case, contesting the allegations, or pursuing reduced penalties.