Whenever you are arrested for a DUI and either have a BAC above the legal limit or allegedly refuse to take a breath test, the State of Washington will attempt to suspend or revoke your driving privilege. On a first offense within seven years where there has been a breath test, the suspension would be for 90 days. If it is a first offense within seven years and a refusal is alleged, the revocation would be for one year. On any second or subsequent offense within that seven year period, the potential revocation would be for a period of two (2) years. In cases where the DOL upholds the suspension, the licensee has essentially four options.
The first would be to appeal the finding. If the DOL does uphold the suspension, you would have 30 days to file an appeal in the superior court of the county where the incident occurred. It is likely, however, that the suspension would remain in effect while the appeal was pending. To be successful on appeal it is important that your DUI attorney make a complete record during the administrative hearing as this is what the Superior Court will be considering in determining the outcome of the appeal.
Second, during the period of suspension, there is a strong chance that you would be eligible for an ignition interlock license (IIL). You would be required to have your vehicle equipped with an ignition interlock device (IID) and obtain SR-22 insurance, but once those conditions were met and the DOL approved the application, you would be eligible to drive during the period of suspension. Currently, the IIL option is not available to those who appeal the adverse finding.
Third, anyone who is entering or planning on entering into a Deferred Prosecution could have the suspension stayed during that period of deferment and even up until the time that the court officially entered the deferred prosecution agreement. If you are considering entering into a deferred prosecution, read our article to help determine whether this alternative is right for you.
The last option doesn’t sound like much of an option, and it is not our recommendation, but some people do choose to simply serve out the suspension. Prior to reinstatement proof of SR-22 insurance would have to be provided and carried for three (3) years from the date you are eligible for reinstatement.
If possible, hire a qualified and experienced lawyer who knows and practices Washington DUI law. It’s the best and sometimes the only real option for avoiding a license suspension.