Starting January 1, 2009, a major change is taking place as it relates to the deprivation of drivers' licenses for those arrested and/or convicted of DUI. Under the current version of RCW 46.20.391, any driver who is suspended or revoked, may apply for an Occupational Restricted License (ORL) after a period of time set forth in the statute. Under this legislative scheme, there still is a period of “hard” deprivation, wherein a resident may not drive AT ALL. Beginning the first of the year, ORLs will no longer be available for anyone suffering a suspension under RCW 46.61.502, 46.61.504 or RCW 46.20.308. The legislature has specifically excluded DUI and Physical Control suspension from the ORL statue. (See RCW 46.20.391), Instead, a driver will be given the “opportunity” of obtaining an Ignition Interlock License instead.
RCW 46.20.391 will be amended January 1st to limit ORLs to suspensions for just about any other reason other than an alcohol related violation. A new statute, RCW 46.20.385, will govern all individuals who have been convicted of DUI or Physical Control, or who have had their license administratively suspended by the Department of Licensing.
What's the difference? Well for starter, unlike ORLs, which are limited in time, and location for driving, IILs will have no such limitations. Currently, a driver operating on an ORL, can only drive during the hours that was approved by the DOL. Under the new IIL, the driver will not be restricted as to time or location of the driving. As long as the driver has a functioning IID in the car, they're in compliance with the statute.
SR-22? Yes, of course the insurance industry is going to get their pound of flesh. Under RCW 46.20.385(2)(b), any applicant wanting an IIL, must have SR-22 insurance in place. The IIL will remain in effect for the entire duration of any suspension and/or revocation. The IIL is available for anyone, whether they took the chemical test or refused, and is available for multiple offenders facing lengthy revocations.
The most important change, however, is procedural. RCW 46.20.308 will be amended requiring that anyone who wishes to have a DOL hearing, shall request that hearing within 20 days of their date of arrest, not the 30 days currently required under the law. Furthermore, RCW 46.20.308(2) will be amended to require new implied consent warnings which inform the driver of their eligibility for a IIL. Also, of equal importance, is that if a driver requests an IIL, they will waive their right to a DOL hearing and any appeal. Consequently, you could request a hearing, conduct a hearing, lose the hearing, and then ask for an IIL. Of course, any right to appeal will have been waived.
There are many other intricacies to the new RCW 46.20.385 and the author here strongly encourages every lawyer to pay careful attention to the full text of this new statute. This will be the first of many blogs updating the practitioner as to the changes brought about by the IIL.