The answer to that is: potentially. Washington State has strict laws regarding DUIs, and the Department of Licensing (DOL) has firm guidelines. An experienced DUI attorney can help the person charged with the DUI understand and navigate the laws.
What Are the Laws Regarding DUIs and Driving Licenses?
The legal blood alcohol content (BAC) threshold for being charged with a DUI in Washington State is 0.08% (or 0.04% for operating a commercial vehicle and 0.02% for a driver under the age of 21). Once it’s determined that the BAC is at least 0.08%, the following license suspensions come into play:
- If the BAC was less than .15 or no test was obtained, the license will be suspended for 90 days.
- If the BAC was above .15, the license would be revoked for one year.
- If the driver refused to take the test, their license would be revoked for two years.
Is There Any Way to Avoid Having a License Suspended Due to a DUI?
The driver can request a DUI hearing from the DOL in which they can argue that their license shouldn’t be suspended. While the form itself is not complicated to fill out and submit, there are restrictions and deadlines that make it worthwhile to have a DUI attorney’s assistance. Any deadlines or restrictions that are not met will invalidate the request, and the hearing will be denied. Note that even if someone properly files a hearing request, they’ll hear from the DOL about two weeks after the arrest that their license is suspended for 90 days.
It’s important to understand that this hearing differs from a criminal court case. The latter has to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. A suspension hearing only needs to prove something called “a preponderance of evidence,” which is a lower threshold and easier to prove. It’s also important to know that even if the hearing takes place, it does not replace the criminal case, which still goes forward.
After the hearing, the DOL will either revoke the license suspension or order it to go forward. In the latter case, the driver can either appeal the decision or apply for an ignition interlock device (IID) or do both. An IID is a device that is attached to the vehicle’s ignition and requires the driver to blow into and test with less than 0.025% BAC in order for the ignition to start. It also has a camera that records who’s using the device.
In any event, a DUI can easily cause a license suspension. Hiring an experienced DUI attorney to advise and guide you has the potential to make a difference, depending on the circumstances around the DUI arrest.
Let Us Advise You
DUI laws and regulations can be complex. Call us at 253-383-3328 for assistance working through the process.