Department of Licensing (DOL)
It is important to speak with an attorney immediately following a DUI arrest – even if you have not yet been charged. Important events are already in motion;
When you are arrested for DUI two separate and distinct actions occur. One is an administrative action by the department of licensing and the other the filing of criminal charges for DUI. The filing of criminal charges may not occur right away, however your privilege to drive is at risk immediately. Washington's Implied Consent Law (RCW 46.20.308) requires any driver arrested for DUI, Physical Control, or Minor DUI to submit to a breath or blood test. If you provide a breath sample over the legal limit which is .02 under age 21, and .08 over age 21, you will be subject to an administrative license suspension by the DOL for 90 days or more, regardless of what happens in any criminal action. If you refuse to provide a breath or blood sample when requested, the Department of licensing will revoke your privilege to drive for at least one year.
This administrative action to suspend your driving privileges is initiated immediately. Typically the officer will have punched a hole in your license, which indicates that it is temporary. The officer should have additionally given you notice of your right to request a hearing with the Department of Licensing.
If you want a hearing to challenge your license suspension, you must apply to the Department within 20 days of your arrest date, and pay the $375 filing fee to request the hearing. Unless you request a hearing within this 20 day period, your license will automatically be suspended 60 days after the date you were arrested.
The stakes are high, even for a first time offense – 90 days for a breath test over .08, and a full year simply because the arresting officer decided that you refused to take the test.
You need a DUI defense attorney skilled and experienced with DOL Hearings who can focus their attention on your particular case. DUI and Criminal Defense attorney Coleen St. Clair has the skills, experience, and legal knowledge necessary to give you your best defense. Ms. St. Clair, a former prosecutor, has handled dozens of DOL administrative hearings. Call her now at (206) 578-2200. You can also e-mail her for a FREE evaluation of your case.