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Can I Still Drive?

Dec. 23, 2019

Can I still drive after I am arrested for DUI?

If you are arrested for DUI, the arresting officer will likely punch a hole in your license and provide you with paperwork related to an administrative hearing. It is important to understand that your driver’s license is still valid for a period of twenty (20) days after the arrest, regardless of what you do. However, if you do not request a hearing with the Department of Licensing (DOL), your license will be suspended automatically 20 days after your arrest. To avoid this automatic suspension, you need to request a hearing within twenty days of your arrest. After you request a hearing, the DOL will send you a hearing date.

If you prevail at the hearing, your license will not be suspended. If you lose the hearing, your license will be suspended. I recommend to all my clients that they request the hearing. There is a fee of $200 to request a hearing. You should consult an attorney immediately after your arrest. They will be able to advise you on the process and to help you evaluate your options.

I need to drive. Is there any way I can keep driving?

Starting January 1, 2009, if your license is suspended, you may apply for an Ignition Interlock License (IIL). Also, you may apply for this license even before a suspension takes place. In the event that you receive notice of an administrative action against your license, you may apply immediately for the IIL. This special license allows you to drive during your suspension as long as you (1) maintain a functioning ignition interlock device in your vehicle throughout the period of your suspension; and (2) maintain SR22 high-risk insurance. Even if you lose your hearing, the IIL remains available as an option. If you win your hearing, there is no need for the IIL unless you are convicted in a court of DUI or enter into a 10.05 Deferred Prosecution.

What if I drive a vehicle owned by my employer, do I need to maintain an ignition interlock device on both my vehicle and my employer’s vehicle even if I have an IIL?

In some cases, the installation of an ignition interlock device is not necessary on vehicles owned by a person’s employer and driven as a requirement of employment during working hours. The DOL does grant an employer exception on a case-by-case basis. To qualify for the exception, a driver must provide the DOL with a declaration pursuant to RCW 9A.72.085 from his or her employer stating that the person’s employment requires the person to operate a vehicle owned by the employer during working hours. The DOL will make a decision as to whether to exempt the driver from the ignition interlock device.

How are my rights affected if I apply for an IIL?

A driver receiving an ignition interlock driver’s license waives his or her right to an administrative hearing or appeal under RCW 46.20.308. If you apply for the license before your hearing, you can no longer challenge the legality of the suspension. If you challenge the suspension and lose, you may still apply for the IIL.

Are IIL’s available to everybody?

No. Under some circumstances, the IIL may not be available. For example, if within seven years immediately preceding the date of the offense that gave rise to the present conviction or incident, the applicant has committed vehicular homicide under RCW 46.61.520 or vehicular assault under RCW 46.61.522; he will not be eligible. An attorney will help you determine whether you are eligible.

What does an IIL cost?

There is a monthly fee of $20 to maintain the license. This fee is in addition to the monthly fee you will have to pay an ignition interlock company to monitor the device. There is also an initial application fee of $100.00.