Restricted drivers licenses - DUIs

An arrest or conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) automatically leads to driver’s license revocation in Washington. A driver may apply for a restricted driver’s license that remains in effect during the pendency of a criminal case until the end of a statutorily-prescribed time period or revocation by the state. Washington law has created two types of restricted licenses, but only one is available to people in a DUI case. If you have had your driver’s license revoked as the result of a DUI arrest, contact a Washington criminal defense lawyer, who can guide you through the process of obtaining a temporary license.

License Suspension in DUI Cases

After an arrest for suspected DUI, the state may suspend a driver’s license for ninety days to two years. The length of the suspension depends on the circumstances of the alleged DUI offense and the number of prior DUI offenses. The driver may request a hearing before a state agency to challenge the revocation.

After a DUI conviction, license revocation may last between ninety days and four years, with credit for the arrest-related suspension.

Ignition Interlock Driver License

The only type of restricted license available to someone whose license was revoked due to a DUI arrest is called an ignition interlock drivers license (IIL). This requires installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) in the individual’s vehicle, usually at that person’s expense. In order to start the vehicle, the driver must blow into the device, which is similar to a breathalyzer used by police. It prevents the vehicle from starting if the test shows breath alcohol content (BAC) of 0.025% or higher. An IIL may include restrictions on the hours an individual may drive, as well as a geographic restriction. After a conviction for DUI, an IIL is mandatory for a period of time ranging from one year to ten years, depending on the driver’s number of prior convictions.

Occupational/Restricted License

An occupational or restricted license (ORL) is available for license revocations resulting from offenses like reckless driving or traffic offenses, such as parking or speeding tickets. It is not available if vision problems or a medical condition led to the revocation, nor is it available in cases of DUI, minor in possession, habitual traffic offender status, or vehicular assault or homicide. An ORL allows a person to travel between their home and their place of work or school, a health care provider, or a substance abuse treatment program. It also places restrictions on the hours of the day and days of the week a driver may be on the road, and may limit the driver to a defined geographic area.

Financial Responsibility

The state may require an individual to demonstrate financial responsibility as a condition of obtaining an IIL or ORL, which establishes the ability to pay for damages if the person is involved in an accident. A common means of doing this is by obtaining an endorsement on the driver’s auto insurance, known as an SR-22, indicating that the driver meets the state’s criteria for financial responsibility.

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.