As of January 1, 2019, the State of Washington has amended the rules with respect to the timing for requesting an Administrative hearing as well as the jurisdictional time limits within which the Department has to act. As a result, unaware drivers and attorneys could miss a very important deadline.
Prior to the start of the new year any person arrested for a DUI who either allegedly refused to provide a breath sample or who had a breath test that registered over the legal limit, had 20 days to request a hearing to contest a potential license suspension/revocation. If any suspension were to occur, the earliest that could have happened would have been 60 days from the date of arrest. Now those timelines have been shortened…significantly.
New Washington DOL Hearing Request Deadline
Starting January 1st, administrative hearing requests must be made no later than seven (7) days from the date of arrest. Also, any corresponding license suspension/revocations will now begin 30 days from the arrest date or the hearing date itself, whichever occurs first. One additional rule change is the time within which the DOL must give notice of any hearing date. The hearings must be scheduled no later than 30 days from the date that the hearing was actually requested. Previously, the DOL was required to give a driver at least ten (10) days’ notice of a hearing. Under the new, expedited, rules, that notice has been reduced to only five (5) days. Finally, many of the old notice forms are likely still out in circulation. Those forms incorrectly advise drivers of the old hearing request deadlines. If you have received one of these forms and were arrested in 2019, disregard that information. The DOL will likely still hold drivers to the new hearing request deadline, even if they were given inadequate notice by the arresting officer.
Hearing Requests In Blood Draw Cases
Notice and deadline issues are likely to be exacerbated in cases involving blood draws. In such cases, the driver is not notified of a pending administrative action at the time of arrest. The notice is mailed to the driver after the blood test results are back from the lab and provided to the DOL by the arresting officer. This is a process that is currently taking several months. In blood draw cases, the deadline to request a hearing will be seven (7) days from the date that DOL provides notice of the pending suspension. For people who have moved and not notified the DOL of the address change or who simply do not check their mail on a regular basis, the odds of missing the request deadline may increase dramatically.
As a result of these changes, drivers are going to be required to make decisions much faster than ever before. They will also need to make arrangements for potential license suspensions much sooner as well. Many, if not most, clients contact our office beyond seven days from the arrest date. People who are slower to seek information or assistance relating to their DUI arrest may end up waiving their right to a hearing without ever knowing about it.
If you have been arrested for DUI, even if the case itself has not yet been filed, do not delay in at least seeking consultation regarding your rights and obligations. The State of Washington is putting more pressure on drivers now than ever before. Contact the attorneys for Milios Defense, we are here to help.