If you have been charged with a DUI in the state of Washington, you have 20 days from the date you were arrested to request a hearing with the Department of Licensing (DOL). If you were arrested for DUI or Physical Control and refused the test, or took the test and the result was at or above the legal limit, the police officer will likely already have notified DOL that your license should be suspended or revoked.
To contest this action, you must request a hearing within 20 days of the date of your arrest. If you do not request a hearing, your license will be automatically suspended or revoked on the 60th day following your arrest. In addition to losing your license for a period of time, you will have to pay a fee to have it reinstated after the suspension, and obtain SR22 insurance for three years following reinstatement. Even if your criminal charge of DUI is never filed, or is ultimately dismissed, the Washington State Department of Licensing will still administratively suspend or revoke your license.
How Do I Request a Hearing with the DOL?
A police officer should give you a form during your arrest, but if not you can obtain the form on the DOL’s website, http://www.dol.wa.gov/forms/forms.html. However, if you miss the deadline, even if it’s an hour late, your request will be summarily denied and you will automatically lose your driving privileges.
The First Step Before Requesting a Hearing with the DOL
Before you even get close to the 20 day deadline, you should retain a lawyer who is experienced and trained to handle DUI cases. Department of Licensing cases are difficult to win—more difficult than winning the DUI criminal case. You have a better shot at winning with an aggressive and experienced attorney on your case.