November 23, 2009 – Invariably, one of the chief concerns that people who have been charged with DUI have is their continuing privilege to drive. In Washington, from the moment one turns 16 there is excitement about the freedom that being able to drive will afford. As we grow older, driving comes to represent so much more. For many it is at the center of their ability to earn a living. For others it offers them access to the people and places that make their life enjoyable. The fear of losing this privilege (which we often view as a right) is horrible.
Fortunately, in January of 2009, the legislature acknowledged that driving is very important to people and that the cost of losing the privilege often extends beyond simple punishment and could cost people their jobs or time with their family. This recognition led to the creation of the Ignition Interlock Driver’s License. RCW 46.20.385. Prior to the implementation of this law, a person convicted of DUI faced a minimum of a 90 day suspension of her privilege to drive for a first offense DUI within 7 years with a BAC under a 0.15. For subsequent DUI’s or DUI’s with a higher BAC’s the penalties are substantially greater. Not only did this frequently result in job loss and tremendous inconvenience, it also led many people who rely upon their cars and have few alternatives to knowingly break the law. Driving on a Suspended License is the most common crime in the state of Washington. Contrary to the belief of many, Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License is a very big deal. It can result in new criminal charges being filed against you, review hearings on your original charge, jail time, fines and further suspension.
The ignition interlock license or IIL allows you to continue driving, but at a cost. You will only be allowed to drive vehicles equipped with an ignition interlock device while your regular license is suspended or revoked. This will include vehicles owned by your employer unless they sign and file a waiver that can be attained on the Department of Licensing’s website. You will have to file proof of financial responsibility in the form of SR-22 insurance and you will be responsible for all of the costs tied to the installation, maintenance of the ignition interlock device. There are several steps, but the payoff of being able to continue driving legally is well worth going through the process. For more information, please contact our office and one of our attorneys will be happy to help you get back on the roadway.