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 your ankle.
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 financial responsibility.
- 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 investment.
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.