Washington's Department of Licensing (DOL) defines driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) as operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher. For drivers under the age of 21, this legal limit is lowered to .02. Anyone who is pulled over for suspected DUI and refuses to submit to a mandatory blood or breath test will have his or her license revoked for at least one year.
This revocation will happen automatically unless you request a hearing within 20 days of your DWI arrest. At this hearing, your chances of protecting your license will be greatly improved if you have professional legal representation. To discuss your case with an experienced Seattle DUI defense lawyer, call Cowan Kirk at 1-866-822-1230.
After Your DUI Arrest
After an arrest for allegedly driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the officer releasing you from custody is supposed to provide:
- Your driver's license, now with a hole punched in it to signify that it expires in 30 days
- A copy of your breath test results
- A hearing request for you to fill out if you choose
If you want to defend yourself from the DUI charges you face, you will need to send in this request, along with a $375 hearing request fee. The fine may only be waived if paying it would pose an unreasonable hardship. In most cases, you will have 20 days after your arrest to send in this request. If you received a blood test instead of a breath test, the clock starts ticking when the DOL mails you the test results. Either way, it is best to send your request via registered or certified mail.
Your Driver's License Hearing
Your hearing should take place within 60 days of your arrest. It will concern any suspension or revocation of your driver's license, including those based on a conviction or a refusal to be tested. You may have to appear in person, or you may be able to participate in the hearing by phone. This hearing is separate from any criminal trial you may be facing; it will only concern your driver's license. However, in order to maximize your chances, it may be in your best interest to contact an experienced Seattle DUI driver's license attorney.
DUI and License Revocation
Depending on the outcome of your trial, your driver's license may be suspended for a certain period of time or revoked altogether. Because DUI is considered a serious offense, it is penalized harshly. You can read the potential penalties below:
The penalties for refusing to submit to a test of your blood alcohol level may be:
- For drivers over 21: The first refusal within seven years, with no other previous administrative suspensions, may result in a one-year revocation. If there is a prior refusal within the last seven years on the record, conviction may result in a two-year revocation.
- For drivers under 21: The first refusal within seven years, with no other previous administrative suspensions, may result in a one-year revocation. If there is a prior refusal within seven years on the record, conviction may result in revocation for two years or until the defendant is 21, whichever is longer.
The penalties for DUI will also depend on the number of prior suspensions. For drivers of the age of 21, the potential DOL penalties are:
- First administrative suspension in seven years: 90 day suspension
- Second administrative action within seven years: Two year revocation
- Suspension or revocation can be stayed if you enter into a deferred prosecution program.
Drivers under the age of 21 may face penalties such as:
- First administrative suspension within seven years: 90 day suspension
- Second administrative action within seven years: one year suspension, or until age 21, whichever is longer
- Suspension can be stayed if you enter into a deferred prosecution program.
For more information on the penalties and consequences associated with DUI, contact an experienced Seattle DUI lawyer at Cowan Kirk by calling 1-866-822-1230.
Occupational or Temporary Restricted Licenses
If your license is suspended or revoked following an alcohol-related offense, you may be eligible for an occupational driver's license. This license will allow you to continue driving to necessary places, like work or school, until your regular driver's license can be reinstated. People who are convicted of vehicular homicide or vehicular assault are not eligible for occupational driver's licenses.
After a conviction of DUI, you need to wait 30 days before you can qualify for a temporary restricted license. If your license was suspended because you refused to submit to a blood alcohol level test, you will need to wait 90 days. You will also need to obtain high-risk driver's insurance to qualify. If you are granted a temporary restricted license, the DOL will require you to install an ignition interlock device in your car until you are eligible for a regular driver's license again.
Contact a Seattle DUI Defense Lawyer
If you are concerned about your driver's license following accusations of drunk driving, the Cowan Kirk Law Firm can help. Our experienced Seattle DUI defense attorneys are ready to defend your rights with confidence and dedication. Contact us today at 1-866-822-1230.