DUI & Your Driver's License
What You Need to Know After a DUI in Washington
- Will I lose my license if I get a DUI?
- What happens to my license after a DUI?
- Can I drive after a DUI?
- Can I fight to keep my license after a DUI?
1. Will I lose my license if I get a DUI?
The first question that most first-time DUI clients have is, “will
I lose my driver’s license if convicted of a DUI?” Every case
is different, and you need a consultation with a qualified attorney so
that you can be informed of all of the possible outcomes of your case.
Even first offense DUIs carry some type of driver’s license suspension
or revocation, and penalties increase if you refused the blood or breath
test at the time of your stop.
If you are wondering how long the duration of the driver’s license
suspension lasts, you must understand that the answer depends on several
factors. The most important factor in determining the outcome of your
DUI case is the quality of your defense. As a highly experienced DUI defense
firm, we have the extensive training in DUI-related issues.
Our founder is qualified to perform Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFTS)
according to NHTSA standards and to evaluate an officer's opinion
as to your sobriety and whether any mistakes were made during your DUI
stop. He is also a sustaining member of the National College for DUI Defense
(NCDD) and teaches DUI defense-related seminars around the country.
The Law Office of Mark W. Garka, PLLC is here to guide you through the
next steps of your DUI case and to fight for the most favorable outcome
possible. Our Snohomish County DUI attorneys focus our practice solely
on DUI defense so that we can deliver knowledgeable and experienced service
to all of our clients.
2. What happens to my license after a DUI?
At the time of your arrest, the law enforcement officer may have punched
a hole through your driver’s license. This indicates that it will
expire within 60 days of your arrest. This applies whether you are convicted
or found innocent of all charges. If you are found innocent, you will
need to reapply for your driver’s license, which will include taking
all of the driver’s license tests and paying the application fee.
You have another option if your driver’s license is suspended. You
may be able to get an occupational driver’s license. Your chance
of qualifying for an occupational driver’s license depends on a
variety of circumstances – such as whether you willingly complied
with the breath or blood tests, whether you have a previous DUI offense,
and your driving history.
If your record is clear, you may be able to be granted an occupational
driver’s license, only if you meet the requirements established
by the Department of Licensing. Our Snohomish County DUI defense attorneys
can help argue your case before the licensing department and explore your options.
One option is electronic home monitoring (EHM). This option allows you
to serve your penalty at home instead of in jail. EHM allows you to attend
work, go to alcohol treatment, and return home.
Another option we may recommend is a work release program. With this program,
you live in a correctional facility for your sentence, but are able to
leave each day to go to work. Of course, you must return to the facility
following work. While at work, you will wear an electronic bracelet around
3. Can I drive after a DUI?
Nearly every person accused wants to know, “can I drive after a DUI?”
Even first offense DUIs carry a mandatory period of driver’s license
suspension, so chances are that you will lose your driving privileges
for at least 90 days. However, depending on your specific charge, your
driving record, and your criminal history, you may be eligible to apply
for an ignition interlock driver’s license.
Here are some basics about this option:
- You have to apply for this provisional driver’s license and prove
- You will have to have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle
at your own cost.
- Your ignition interlock device requires a sample of your breath before
allowing your vehicle to operate in order to ensure that your blood alcohol
is within preset limits.
- These devices now have required cameras to prevent fraud, and penalties
for attempting to trick the device are severe.
The benefits of the ignition interlock device are that you can continue
to drive, and unless you drive your employer’s or a company vehicle,
you do not have to inform him or her about it. However, you still need
to inform your insurance company, and between increased insurance rates
and the cost of the device and fees, this option can be a sizable financial
4. Can I fight to keep my license after a DUI?
If you receive notification that your driving privileges will be suspended,
revoked, or restricted as a result of a DUI charge, you do have a right
to continue to fight. And fight you should!
Having a driver’s license that is suspended, revoked, or restricted
is not only bad for the near term, but it can have longer term impacts
and remain on your driving record for years – and this affects insurance
premiums! The next step in your fight will be to request a Department
of Licensing hearing. While serious, Washington State Department of Licensing
hearings do not have to be the final chapter in your driving career. By
understanding the law, you can better prepare for your hearing.
Department of Licensing hearings are typically recorded on tape or digital
media, and may be conducted in-person or over the telephone. The results
of your driver’s license hearing may be appealed to superior court,
allowing you a further chance of overturning the penalties.
According to Washington State law, if your driver’s license was suspended
or revoked due to an arrest for driving under the influence, a formal
hearing will be offered to you. A date for the hearing will be set, and
you will be expected to appear telephonically.
Understanding the law and understanding the Department of Licensing hearing
process are just two ways you can better prepare yourself for the sometimes harsh
DUI penalties in Washington State. Hiring an experienced DUI lawyer in Snohomish County
to help defend you throughout your case is another. With a skilled advocate
by your side, you will be better prepared for all the curves the legal
system puts in your path.