Serving Skagit,
Island, Whatcom and
Snohomish Counties

Department of Licensing Suspensions

Who is Trying to Suspend my License?

A suspension of your license can occur through two independent processes. When you are stopped, arrested and/or cited with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) by a law enforcement officer, there are two separate processes that begin.

The first process is a criminal prosecution by the State of Washington for DUI. You will be given an arraignment date where you will show up in court to be formally informed of the charges and your Constitutional Rights. The criminal process will only suspend your license upon a "conviction" for DUI.

The second process is a civil-administrative action by the Department of Licensing to suspend your license. This section exclusively deals with the Department of Licensing administrative action to suspend your license.

Time Sensitive

The second process is a civil-administrative action by the Department of Licensing to suspend your license. This section exclusively deals with the Department of Licensing administrative action to suspend your license.

How to Request a Hearing

To challenge the administrative suspension of your license, you must request a hearing with the DOL within 20 days of your arrest (and include a $375.00 hearing fee). You or your attorney can request a hearing within the 20 days by filling out the appropriate from online at the department of licensing (DOL) site and using a visa, master or american express card to pay the $375.00 fee. Alternatively, you can complete the "driver's hearing request" form provided by the arresting officer, along with a check or money order for $375.00 made out to the "Department of Licensing". It is important that you fill out the form accurately and send it within the time period by certified-returned receipt US mail. It is also essential that you fill out the form accurately and as required by the Department of Licensing.

The Administrative Action by the Department of Licensing

In addition to the court's action against a DUI defendant, the Department of Licensing will also seek to impose penalties for those who either refuse a breath/blood test or those who take the breath/blood test and have a certain alcohol concentration. In addition the suspension periods the Department of Licensing (DOL) will require High Risk Insurance (SR-22) for anyone who loses their license through the department's action (SR-22 is required for 3 years after a finding of DUI by the Department of Licensing). This can cost thousands of dollars over the years. Every case is different and an experienced DUI Attorney should be consulted about the particular aspects of any case.

Your attorney will assist you in evaluating and preparing legal briefing on the issues before the Department of Licensing. These issues include but are not limited to:

  • Was there a legal basis for the police to stop you?
  • Where you the actual driver or in actual physical control of the vehicle?
  • Was there probable cause to arrest you?
  • Were you properly advised of the implied consent warnings?
  • Was the breath or blood test properly administered?
  • Was your breath or blood alcohol content exceeds the limits?
    • .08 or more if over age 21 years
    • .02 or more if under age 21 years
    • .04 or more if driving a commercial vehicle
  • Did you actually refuse the breath or blood test?

If the hearing is won on any number of different issues that can be raised the administrative action to suspend your license will be dismissed. However, you will still have to deal with the criminal process that can result in a suspension.

Prior SuspensionsYour Current BAC LevelDUIMinor > .02CDL Disqualifications
1st> .0890 days90 days1 year
See 46.25.090
> .1590 days
Refusal1 year1 year
2nd> .082 years2 years or until 21 years, whichever is greaterLifetime
> .152 years
Refusal2 years
Can I Drive if My License is Suspended?
Ignition Interlock License

An Ignition Interlock Driver's License (IIL) allows you to drive vehicles equipped with an ignition interlock device while your regular license is suspended or revoked for an alcohol-related DUI or Physical Control.

Are you Eligible for an IIL?

To be eligible for an IIL you driving record must show that:

  • You have been arrested for, or convicted of, an alcohol related DUI or Physical Control, Vehicular Assault or Vehicular Homicide
  • You have had a valid driver licenses.
  • You have a Washington State residence address.
  • You haven't been convicted of vehicular assault or vehicular homicide within seven years before the incident for which you are requesting the ILL.
  • Your current suspension is not for; Minor in Possession, Reckless Driving, or Habitual Traffic Offender Status
How do you Apply for IIL?

You should never apply for an IIL without first advising your attorney. If you apply for an ignition interlock license in advance of your administrative hearing, it will have the effect of canceling the hearing and automatically suspending your license. However, if your attorney advises that you should apply for an IIL you will need to do the following.

  1. Install an ignition interlock device in the vehicles you drive (the installer will send notice/proof to the DOL);
  2. Get proof of financial responsibility (SR 22 insurance);
  3. Complete the ignition interlock application;
  4. Submit the completed form with proof of SR 22 insurance to the Drivers Licensing Office along with the $100.00 application fee.
Do Your Need an Ignition Interlock on a Employee Vehicle?

If you drive an employer's vehicle at work you may be eligible to apply for a waiver of the ignition interlock on the employee vehicle. Your employer will be required to sign a waiver of the ignition interlock requirement, stating that you are required to drive the vehicle during work hours only.