Will a Washington DUI Suspend My License?

By Vancouver WA DUI Defense Attorney Roger Priest

A Washington DUI can lead to a license suspension in various ways.  They law is complicated, so it is easy to feel lost when understanding the possible consequences.  However, if you can remember that being charged with a Washington DUI can cause a license suspension in two different ways, it can help to understand how it all works.  The two types of suspensions are administrative and criminal.

Administrative Suspension

If you are even charged with a DUI, this will likely begin an administrative action to suspend your license that can happen automatically if you take no action.  Upon arrest, the police are supposed to give you the following form explaining the administrative suspension and how to challenge it.

You only have seven days to request a hearing to challenge the suspension.  If you do not challenge the suspension, your license will be suspended thirty days after your arrest.  The term of the suspension will be either ninety days if you blow over a 0.08% at the police station or one year if you refuse the test.  If you request and win the hearing, your license will not be suspended administrative.  However, this is just the first hurdle you must navigate to avoid a license suspension, because the criminal case can also trigger a license suspension.

Criminal DUI Suspension

If you are ultimately convicted of a DUI in your criminal case, your license will also be suspended.  A DUI conviction carries a ninety day suspension.  A DUI conviction with a breath test over a 0.15% carries a one year suspension.  And a DUI conviction with a breath test refusal carries a two year license suspension.  If you are suspended both administratively and as a result of the criminal conviction, you will only ever face a suspension with a total length of the longer of the two suspensions.  Therefore, if you are suspended both administratively and criminally for ninety days, you will serve one ninety suspension only.

Furthermore, if you are able to negotiate your DUI down to a Reckless Driving, you will face a thirty day license suspension for that conviction.

In order to have no license suspension whatsoever, you must win both the administrative hearing and avoid a conviction that triggers a license suspension as part of the sentence.

What If I Cannot Afford to Not Be Able to Drive?

While no one wants to face a DUI license suspension, Washington law does have a favorable option for most drivers facing a suspension.  Washington offers an ignition interlock license to all Washington drivers facing a DUI license suspension.  The ignition interlock license permits you to drive with no time or place restrictions, so long as you follow the rules of the license.  The license requires you first install a functioning ignition lock device in your vehicle.  You will only be permitted to drive a vehicle with an ignition interlock device installed.  Secondly, you must obtain and maintain SR-22 insurance throughout the term of suspension.

Once you have both of these, you can simply fill out the Ignition Interlock License application and submit it to the Washington Department of Licensing.

There are more nuances and issues that can arise around the license suspension process, so it can pay to work with an experienced DUI attorney to address your particular case and needs.  Call VanWa Legal PLLC today to schedule a free consultation if you’d like to learn more.

If You Have Been Charged With A DUI In Clark County or Vancouver WA, Time Is Of The Essence!

Call Our Office To Speak With Attorney Roger Priest Immediately.