Getting a DUI in the State of Washington can have some very serious consequences, including loss of driving privileges. Losing the ability to drive can have serious affects on those who have made this mistake. The best way to retain driving privileges in Washington is by hiring experienced DUI defense attorneys. By enlisting the aid of accomplished DUI law firms, those arrested for DUI can challenge their driver’s license suspension and attempt to avoid conviction and keep driving.
Driver’s License Suspension with DUI
Washington State has some of the strictest laws pertaining to DUI/DWI in the nation. Any driver arrested for DUI who either refuses a breath test or gets a reading at or above the legal limit will have their license suspended at the scene. So protecting driving privileges begins the moment an arrest is made for a DUI, when a driver obtains a form to petition the court to regain their driver’s license.
Request A DUI Driver’s Hearing
At the time of arrest when a driver must initially hand over their license, they are presented with a Driver’s Hearing Request Form. This form is essential for any driver to avoid the mandatory license suspension that occurs after an arrest or failed breath test. It must be submitted to the Department of Licensing within 20 days of the arrest to be granted a hearing. The required hearing fee must also be submitted with the form. Both must be received by the Department within 20 days of the arrest. It is suggested that both the form and the fee be submitted via certified mail to provide proof of mailing, should the envelope not be received in time. The form and the fee can also be submitted and paid online.
The Importance of A Driver’s License Hearing
Anyone arrested for DUI and forced to give up their license will receive a letter from the Department of Licensing within approximately two weeks of their arrest, stating that their license has been suspended. This letter is sent automatically and simply confirms that the arresting officer has submitted their statement regarding the arrest. It furthers states that their license has been suspended and will remain as such unless the driver files a petition for a license hearing. A request for a hearing enables a driver and their DUI defense attorneys to challenge this license suspension and potentially regain driving privileges.
Although the hearing itself is frequently held by phone and is less formal than most other types of hearings, it is an important one where the arrested driver may want to enlist the services of an attorney from an experienced DUI law firm to help them. The burden of proof in showing that the license suspension was justified rests upon the Department of Licensing. Often, it is possible to argue the circumstances to the point where a license is reinstated, at least temporarily. Regaining driving privileges through a driver’s license hearing will enable a driver to continue driving until the time of their DUI hearing. Licenses must again be defended at that time; however, the purpose of the driver’s license hearing is to reduce the possible time that a driver is left without their license, since it is sometimes months before the actual DUI hearing takes place.
A Washington driver who has been arrested for a DUI should not assume there is nothing that can be done about an initial driver’s license suspension. Instead, any person arrested for this offense should contact a DUI law firm with a background in driver’s license hearings and prevention of license suspensions. The loss of a driver’s license, especially months ahead of a DUI hearing, can be a devastating loss for those who rely on the ability to drive to get to work, run errands, and perform many other essential activities. Attorneys knowledgeable about DUI defense can help keep a driver on the road and potentially prevent the loss of their license through a skilled defense at both the license hearing and the actual DUI hearing itself!
Maurer Law, PLLC
505 West Riverside, Suite 400
Spokane, WA 99201