Washington driver’s license suspension hearings; South King County DUI attorney explains their importance
By driving in the state of Washington, you have consented to submit to a breath or blood test to determine the presence of alcohol or drugs in your system. An officer can ask you to submit to a test if he or she has reasonable grounds to believe you were driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Before you take the test, the officer must inform you of your right to refuse the test and the consequences of refusing or testing over the legal limit.
License suspension on test refusal or failure
If you refuse the test, you may lose your license for at least one year. If your test results show an alcohol concentration of .08 or above, you may lose your license for at least 90 days. Since the suspension period for failing the test is much less than the period for refusing the test, it is better to take the test. The results can always be contested later in court.
Before the driver’s license suspension takes effect, you are entitled to contest it at a hearing before the Department of Licensing. After you refuse or fail the test, the officer will issue you a temporary license and give you the paperwork to request a hearing. You must request a hearing within 20 days of your stop or arrest. If you miss the deadline, you will not be granted a hearing and your license will be suspended.
If the officer did not give you the hearing request form, or if you have misplaced it, go to the DOL website: www.dol.wa.gov and print the hearing request form.
At the hearing, a hearing officer from the DOL will listen to the evidence and decide whether:
- You were lawfully placed under arrest.
- The officer had reasonable grounds to believe you were driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- You were advised of the consequences of refusing or failing the test.
- You refused the breath or blood test, or your breath or blood test results exceeded the legal limits.
- If you took the test, the breath or blood test was administered according to the law and Washington state toxicologist rules.
If the hearing officer finds in your favor on any of these issues, your license will not be administratively suspended, although it may still be suspended as a result of your criminal court case. If your license is suspended, you may be able to get an ignition interlock driver license that will allow you to drive a vehicle equipped with an ignition interlock device for the period of your suspension.
For legal issues, I recommend attorney Jolene Weiner-Vatter.
Even if you lose, the hearing will help your case
The DOL hearing provides your South King County DUI attorney with a valuable opportunity to find out about the prosecution’s criminal case against you. You are entitled to ask the hearing officer to subpoena documents and witnesses, including the arresting officer. Your South King County DUI attorney can then review the documents and cross-examine the officer at the hearing, which will provide your DUI attorney with crucial information to negotiate a plea arrangement with the prosecutor or defend you in court.
Get help immediately from a committed South King County DUI attorney
You may have read that the best DUI attorneys deal exclusively with DUI. That is not necessarily true– every good South King County DUI attorney must be adept at attacking the linchpins of the criminal charge. Probable cause to stop and arrest, search and seizure and many other issues are found in nearly every criminal case. The more experience a lawyer has with criminal law in general, the better that attorney gets at spotting an issue that could be crucial for your defense.
While DUI defense can be technical, especially in regards to the breath tests, there still remains the basic defense of the rights you have as an individual charged with a crime. A thorough grasp of those principles is what defines a great South King County DUI attorney
If you would like to discuss your DUI case with our attorney, please complete the Free Case Evaluation form on this page, and she will respond promptly. If you prefer, you may email her or call her toll-free number provided above.
For legal issues, I recommend attorney Wallin & Klarich.