After you have been arrested for DUI in Washington, it’s likely you have many concerns and fears surrounding jail time, fines and the other issues that can impact your life following a conviction for it. However, there’s another area that you may not have thought about but need to consider: how it will affect your ability to drive now and in the future.
Since your ability to drive impacts your family, your ability to get to work and earn money to support yourself and your family and many other areas of your life, it’s important to know what to do to protect it.
DUI and Your Ability to Get or Keep Your License
Whether you have a license to drive or not, you can lose access to those privileges shortly after a DUI arrest. Note that if you did not have a license but were stopped before and only received an infraction and a fine, this will not be the case with a DUI charge. You may now face more suspensions, jail time and additional charges stemming from not having a license.
Once you have been arrested for a DUI, it’s imperative that you speak to a criminal defense attorney in Lynnwood as soon as you can so you can take steps to protect your drivers’ license and your future. You are not only facing a criminal charge for the DUI; you are also going to be dealing with separate administration actions to suspend your drivers’ license or your ability to get one.
In most cases, whether you submitted to a blood or breath test or refused to take one, you will be handed an administrative suspension.
Keep in mind that if you refused to take a breath test, your license can be suspended longer by the DOL if you lose the administrative hearing. If you are over 21, did not have a commercial drivers’ license, and had a test result come back under the legal limits, you should still consult an attorney to ensure your license is not impacted.
You don’t want to find out that your license has been suspended from a police officer who has just pulled you over for speeding.
After you receive an administrative suspension of your drivers’ license or your ability to get one, the only way to challenge the suspension is by requesting a hearing with Washington’s Department of Licensing (DOL). This must be done within a specified period of time, typically within seven days of your arrest or within seven days of the date of your suspension notice is sent to you later if you submitted to a blood draw.
You have to fill out the paperwork properly and submit the required fee to request the hearing from the DOL. Your criminal defense attorney in Lynnwood can help you with this to ensure that you make the deadline for the hearing request.
Your DOL Hearing
Once you’ve submitted the proper paperwork on time and paid the correct fee, you will receive a hearing date. At the hearing, your attorney can argue that your ability to drive should not be suspended.
If your license is suspended, you may be able to apply to have an interlock ignition device placed on your car, which will allow you to drive during your suspension period. You will be required to blow into the device to start the car, and it checks your breath alcohol levels. This is true even if no alcohol was involved in the original arrest.
The car will not start if you are under the influence, and your results are recorded (as well as your photograph taken) each time you use it. Keep in mind that you will be responsible for paying for the installation and maintenance fees for the device while you have it, and you will need to notify the designated person in your case if it is not working correctly.
Make sure you contact an attorney after you have been arrested for a DUI to protect your rights in all areas, including your right to drive. If you fail to take action and keep driving, you may be stopped and arrested for driving on a suspended license in the second degree, which can lead to even further license suspensions, increase the likelihood that you will face jail time, and have you paying even more fines.