Following an arrest for driving under the influence (DUI) in Washington State, you only have 7 days to submit a hearing request with the Department of Licensing (DOL). You must request a hearing to have any chance of avoiding a mandatory and lengthy license suspension. Because of this very short time period we highly recommend you contact one of our Bellingham DUI defense lawyers to discuss your case, the DOL hearing process and how we can help you avoid the suspension of your license and retain your driving privileges.
Following a Bellingham DUI arrest there are two ways that you could lose your license, if you had alcohol in your system: by refusing to take the breath test or testing over the legal breath/blood alcohol content (BAC) limit. In Washington the legal limit is 0.08 or 0.02 for a minor.
Washington State laws also make it illegal to drive with marijuana in your system and you may lose your license if you are requested to take a blood draw and either refuse the blood draw or have 5 ng or more of THC in your system, you must request a DOL hearing of you will be facing a lengthy suspension of your license. Additionally, it is illegal for an individual under the age of 21 to drive a motor vehicle with any TCH in their system.
When you are arrested for DUI, the Bellingham police officer, Whatcom County Sheriff’s Deputy or Washington State Trooper will notify the DOL of the arrest by submitting a report within a prescribed number of days. This same law enforcement officer will also provide you with a document notifying you of your ability to contest the automatic suspension of your license and the 7 day time period to contest. The cost of the hearing is $375.
Following your arrest for DUI or Physical Control in Bellingham, should you fail to submit a hearing request before the 7 day time period your license will be suspended or revoked on the 30th day after your drunk-driving arrest. Once your suspension has been completed you must then pay a reinstatement fee and file proof of SR22 insurance for three years. It is important to remember that the DOL hearing is independent from your Bellingham DUI court case so even if you win the court component you may still lose your license from the DOL.
When you are arrested for DUI, the officer will give you a "driver's hearing request" form. Remember, you only have 7 days to request the hearing and if you request the hearing late, you will automatically lose your license.
Requesting a hearing gives you a chance of keeping your driving privileges. Therefore the reason to request such a hearing is obvious. However, there are other advantages to requesting a hearing following your arrest for DUI in Whatcom County area. Your Bellingham DUI attorney may also subpoena the police officer and have him/her testify at the hearing. Such a decision gives your attorney the opportunity to “depose” the Bellingham officer and such a decision may illicit valuable information and the possibility of new defenses that were previously unknown.
If you do lose your license you still have another option. You may still drive if you apply for an ignition interlock license. Such a license requires SR 22 insurance, an ignition interlock device and the $100 application fee but, it will permit you to drive your personal vehicle unencumbered during the license suspension. It’s always good to have a plan B!
Following your Bellingham DUI arrest you will have many questions about your license. This is a complicated area will many collateral consequences so it is important to immediately contact one of our knowledgeable Bellingham DUI attorneys to discuss your case and the licensing issues in your case. Remember, all consultations are complimentary.
For more detailed information about your license and what can happen following an arrest on a criminal driving crime in Whatcom County, please look at our Whatcom County license suspension page for additional help.
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