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Department of Licensing (DOL) and License Suspensions

Timeframe to Challenge License Suspension

You have a right to challenge any action the Department of Licensing takes, but the burden is on you to request a hearing by mailing in a form to the DOL or requesting the hearing online. You have 20 days from the date of your arrest to request this hearing. It is crucial that you do not miss this deadline.

Implied Consent Law

If you have been arrested for a DUI in Washington State you are most likely facing a driver's license suspension or revocation by the Department of Licensing. Washington State has an “implied consent law” which allows the Department of Licensing to revoke or suspend your license because Washington State considers driving a privilege, not a right. Every licensed driver from this state must agree to submit to a breath or blood test when placed under arrest for DUI. Every state in the country has an implied consent law; thus, you have automatically consented to taking such a test anywhere in the US.

Mandatory License Suspension from DOL

Washington's Implied Consent Law (RCW 46.20.308) requires any driver arrested for DUI to submit to a breath or blood test. Refusal to submit to a chemical test will result in a mandatory administrative license revocation by the DOL for at least one year. Should a person submit to a test and are over the legal limit (.02 under age 21, .08 over 21), they face an administrative license suspension by the DOL for 90 days or more.

DOL Action Separate from Court Action

The administrative action by the DOL is completely separate from the criminal case. It is considered "civil" in nature, while the court case is a "criminal" matter. Even if the court dismisses the criminal charge for DUI, or the charges are reduced to a lesser offense, a driver can still face an administrative suspension or revocation based on the implied consent law. Thus, you may "win" your DOL hearing to preserve their license and still lose it if convicted of a DUI. Or vice versa. Both matters must be handled separately from each other.

If the DOL rules against you and sustains the license suspension or revocation, you will have the option of either applying for the Ignition Interlock License (IIL) or appealing the DOL's decision to the Superior Court.

Ignition Interlock Driver License (IIL)

Washington State Department of Licencing: Ignition Interlock

Getting Your License Back After Suspension

It depends on several factors, including your blood alcohol content and whether you were involved in any previous DUI incidents. To learn how to reinstate your license, see the suspension letter we sent you or Learn how to reinstate your license online.

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