The Ultimate Guide To DOL Hearings
DOL Hearings for DUI Cases
In Washington State DOL Hearings on DUI Cases are very difficult to win. Frankly, without an experienced DUI Attorney, your chances of winning your DOL Hearing are less than 20%.
We cannot negotiate with the DOL to reduce the suspension term, we can only argue the facts of your case and utilize our strategic knowledge to help win these hearings.
If you have requested a DOL Hearing for a DUI case and would like to learn more about the process continue reading our Ultimate Guide to DOL Hearings below.
At the time scheduled for your telephonic DOL hearing, the hearing officer will call us if we have been hired on your case.
“Tough DUI Laws Require Tough DUI Lawyers”
Linda M. Callahan
Issues for the Hearing Officer to decide are:
You may be wondering if a lawyer really can help you win your DOL hearing, or if fighting the DOL is even worth your time and energy. The truth is that while a DOL hearing is tough to win, DOL does dismiss cases against drivers.
You will have a much better chance if you have an experienced lawyer on your side.
The arguments that can be made in any given DOL hearing are extremely fact-dependent, and a seasoned Washington DUI lawyer will have the technical knowledge necessary to bring the best arguments forward in your DOL hearing. It is possible to win, and this may be your only shot at fighting to keep your license.
The following is a partial list of some of the reasons that DOL might dismiss your case, and facts that a good DUI lawyer will look at in your case:
Because good evidence can become harder to find as time passes, it is important to contact a Washington DUI attorney as soon as possible after your arrest so that the key facts and evidence in your case may be recorded and preserved. This will allow your lawyer to have the best opportunity to help you keep your license.
The hearing officer must prepare a written decision called a “final order” that announces a decision about all of the issues in your case. You and your lawyer can expect to receive this decision by mail, usually within a few weeks after the hearing. The final order will state whether the proposed suspension or revocation will go into effect and if so, when it will go into
effect, or whether your DOL case is dismissed. Consult with your lawyer to discuss all of the available options at this point. Once you receive the final order, you have 30 days to appeal the case to the superior court if DOL did not dismiss your case. This option is discussed in more detail below.
Another option may be to file a petition for reconsideration of the order with the hearing officer who decided the case. Once you receive the final order, you have 10 days to seek reconsideration. Reconsideration is available if there are item(s) of new evidence or legal argument(s) that:
The hearing officer may issue a new final order or set another supplemental hearing to decide the new issue(s). While the petition for reconsideration is pending, the suspension or revocation will go into effect according to the final order. It will not automatically be stayed. The suspension or revocation remains in effect unless you file a separate request for a stay and the hearing officer grants the request. Whether or not he or she will grant the request depends on whether or not he or she believes the petition for reconsideration is likely to be successful and the action in the final order is likely to be changed. Even if those two requirements are met, the hearing officer will not issue a stay unless he or she decides that denying the stay will cause you irreparable harm.
After the hearing officer decides the issues in the petition for reconsideration, he or she will issue an amended order either denying the petition or amending the original final order. Once you receive the amended order, you have 30 days to appeal it. After that point, you may no longer appeal the original final order to the superior court. A denial of reconsideration cannot be appealed. A petition for reconsideration is not without its risks and like all options throughout the hearing process, an experienced DUI lawyer can help you make the best decision about whether or not you should pursue it.
You must petition the superior court within 30 days if you wish to appeal the hearing officer’s final order. You are responsible for the cost of obtaining a copy of the DOL hearing record, and of having it transcribed by a certified transcriptionist, so that the superior court may review the record of the hearing. As in a petition for reconsideration, filing an appeal does not automatically stay the suspension or revocation. You may request that the superior court grant a stay. In deciding whether or not to do so, the superior court judge will determine whether or not you are likely to be successful on appeal. Even if it finds that you are likely to be successful, the court will not issue a stay unless it finds that if it denies the stay, you will suffer irreparable injury.
On appeal, the Superior Court will determine if the DOL made any legal errors. The court will only reverse the hearing officer’s decision about whether a fact is true if the decision is not supported by substantial evidence, so appeals are rarely won on the issue of the credibility of the law enforcement officer’s report or testimony. Your lawyer will have the opportunity to submit legal briefs and make oral arguments in court. The superior court will issue a written decision either “affirming” (agreeing with), “reversing” (disagreeing with) or modifying the decision of the hearing officer. The superior court also has the power to send the case back to DOL for another hearing.
There is an obvious incentive to appeal your case to Superior Court, especially if your lawyer believes that the DOL’s decision is not supported by the evidence or the law.
But if you are unsuccessful in defending your license at your DOL hearing and you decide not to appeal your case, you can apply for an Ignition Interlock driver’s license. This will allow you to continue to drive during your suspension or revocation period so long as you keep an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) installed on all of the vehicles you drive (except, in some cases, vehicles you drive in the course of your employment) and meet certain other requirements.
If you lost your DOL Hearing or choose not to apply for one, learn how to drive legally.
Apply for an Ignition Interlock License
To qualify to request a stay, you must meet three requirements:
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