DUI Driver's License Suspension

In Washington state, an arrest for driving under the influence, or “DUI,” can result in the suspension or revocation of your driver’s license, even if the case does not result in a conviction. It is possible to challenge the suspension administratively or obtain an ignition interlock license. State law requires automatic license suspension or revocation if a blood alcohol content (BAC) test shows an amount above the legal limit, or if a person refuses to submit to a blood or breath test after an arrest for suspected DUI. If you have been charged with alleged DUI, or are facing license revocation, you should consult with an experienced Washington criminal defense lawyer who can advise you of your rights and defend you against the charges.

Suspension for Refusal to Submit to Blood or Breath Test

Washington law states that anyone who drives a motor vehicle in the state has given implied consent to a breath test. An arresting officer may also obtain a warrant authorizing the collection of a blood sample, which can be analyzed to determine BAC. Refusal to submit to a breath or blood test results in license suspension under state law. If the individual has not refused a blood or breath test within the previous seven-year period, a refusal leads to license revocation for one year. If a person has refused a test within the previous seven years, or has been the subject of another administrative action related to a test refusal, the license revocation period is two years.

Suspension Based on BAC Test Results

If a blood or breath test shows a BAC level above the level set by statute in its definition of DUI, the resulting license suspension may actually be of shorter duration than that required for a test refusal. The “legal limit” for people 21 years of age or older is 0.08 percent. For people under the age of 21, it is 0.02 percent. If a blood or breath test shows a BAC above the applicable limit, and the person has not had a license suspension related to DUI in the previous seven years, the length of the license revocation is ninety days. For a subsequent license revocation or other administrative action within the seven-year period, the revocation lasts two years.

Suspension After a Conviction

If a person is convicted of DUI, the state may revoke the driver’s license for at least ninety days, and for up to four years. The length of the revocation depends on the circumstances of the incident and the number of prior offenses.

Reinstatement of License

For suspensions arising from a DUI arrest, a person may request a hearing before the Department of Licensing to contest the suspension. A person may also apply for an ignition interlock driver’s license, which allows the person to drive with the use of a device that measures BAC.

A Washington criminal defense attorney with knowledge of Washington’s criminal legal system can help you with your DUI case and license suspension, including obtaining an ignition interlock driver’s license and mounting an administrative challenge to the suspension. Timothy L. Healy has represented DUI defendants throughout Washington state, including Bellevue and King County, for over fifteen years. To schedule a free and confidential consultation with a member of our team, contact us today online or at (888) 312-3093.