Driving After A DUI – The License Suspension

Suspended Drivers License After a DUI /DWI arrest.

After a DUI /DWI arrest, there are two methods in which your driving privilege can be suspended.

Administrative Suspension After Arrest – Department of Licensing

After your arrest, the officer will submit evidence of your breathalyzer or your refusal to submit to the breathalyzer to the Department of Licensing (DOL). If it is a blood draw case, this information may not be available for 6-18 months due to the crime lab backup. It is important to keep an accurate address with the Department of Licensing so you get notice of any suspension.

The DOL has jurisdiction to suspend your license if your blow was over an .08 for those over 21 years old, .04 for a driver with a CDL in their commercial vehicle, .02 for minors, and any driver who refuses to submit to the breathalyzer.

DUI Main Page

Suspension After Resolution Of The Criminal Case

Guilty Verdict After Trial

If you are found guilty of DUI, Physical Control or Reckless Driving, the clerks will send notice of the verdict to DOL and there will be a suspension related to the criminal case. This is separate from the administrative suspension that occurred 30 days following your arrest (or blood result). The length of your suspension following the criminal trial will depend on what you were convicted of as well as factors such as your criminal history and any special allegations included in your charge.

Negotiated Plea Through PDA or SOC

If your case is resolved through an alternative resolution such as a Pretrial Diversion Agreement or Stipulated Order of Continuance, you may not be suspended as a result of the criminal case (the administrative suspension is still possible). Whether you are suspended a second time due to the criminal case resolution will depend on what lesser charge your case was reduced to in the negotiation. For example, a Negligent Driving in the First Degree, should not suspend your license. However, if you violate your Pretrial Diversion Agreement and it is revoked, the original DUI charge is “resurrected” and will suspend your license. 

Notice of Suspension

It is critical to keep an accurate address with the Department of Licensing so you get notice of any suspension or a hearing that is set regarding your suspension. If you did not request a DOL hearing within 7 days of your DUI arrest, you likely missed your window to contest the suspension. 

Blood Draw Cases

This is tricky with blood draw cases because there is no actual evidence that the DOL has jurisdiction at the time of the arrest (since no one knows what the level is in the blood). However, the driver rarely gets notice when the crime lab finally provides the state with the results and then DOL is notified. Unfortunately, the only real way to avoid missing your window to request a DOL hearing is to ask for it within the 7 days after the initial law enforcement contact or arrest. 

Am I Suspended

If your notice of suspension or notice of the DOL hearing did not come to you because the DOL had an old mailing address, you are out of luck. YOU must make sure mailing addresses are accurate. 

If you hired a defense lawyer immediately after the arrest (even if you were not criminally charged yet), then your lawyer WILL get notice of the DOL hearing – assuming you put your lawyer’s name and contact information on the DOL hearing request form. 

For those who did not request the DOL hearing, do not have an attorney, or failed to keep an accurate updated mailing address, the only way to know if you are currently suspended is to check with DOL on a daily basis.

License eXpress

If you have a Washington Drivers License, you can create a License eXpress account and log into it everyday. It will give you the status of your license — valid or suspended.

Out of State

If you have an out of state license, you must check with your home state as well as Washington DOL. Even if your home state has your license as valid, if Washington is in the process of administratively suspending your privilege to drive in our state, your home state will eventually give full faith to the Washington suspension. So, be aware that you need to do regular, if not daily, checking on your license status. 

Consequences For Not Checking DOL Status

If you fail to monitor the status of your license and you drive while your privilege is suspended, you are committing a crime — Driving While License Suspended (DWLS). If you are suspended and have a License eXpress account, it will list all of the requirements and timelines regarding reinstating your license.

Driving While Suspended

If you are client of Witt Law Group, reach out to us regarding the process for driving in the interim of your suspension. Ryan will provide you with the step by step process. Do not skip any steps! 

If you are facing a DUI, Physical Control or other driving-related misdemeanor in western Washington, please reach out to our attorneys to see how we can help. We are here 7 days a week. (360) 792-1000

Ryan and Jen Witt of Witt Law Group, Kitsap County defense and personal injury lawyers

Get help now

Whether you choose to handle your case alone or engage the Witt Law Group, being informed and prepared is essential. Early involvement of an attorney can significantly impact your chances of a fair recovery, allowing you to focus on healing while we handle negotiations with insurance adjusters to secure fair compensation for your injuries.

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