Department of Licensing Hearings
If you have been arrested in Washington State for DUI or physical control, you will also be facing a suspension of your driver's license. Washington State, like many jurisdictions, has an “implied consent law”. This means that if you drive in Washington State you are making two promises to the government. First, you promise that you will not refuse to take a breath or blood test if lawfully asked. Second, you promise that if you take a breath or blood test, your alcohol level will not be .08 or higher. If you break either of these promises, your license or privilege to drive will be suspended or revoked through an administrative action by the Department of Licensing. You have a right to challenge the Department of Licensing's action at a hearing, but the burden is on you to request a hearing. You have 20 days from the date of your arrest to request this hearing. It is crucial that you do not miss this deadline.
Many drivers are confused by the fact that the license suspension happens independently of any criminal charges for DUI or physical control. This means your license may be taken away from you by the Washington State Department of Licensing even if you are never charged with a crime in District or Municipal court. While this may not seem fair, courts have repeatedly upheld this law.
You may be wondering if it is worth requesting an administrative hearing with the Department of Licensing. We say absolutely. It is impossible to tell ahead of time who will win these hearings and who will not. While they are difficult to win and it feels like the deck is stacked against the drivers, many people do win these hearings. The benefits of winning a hearing far outweigh the costs of requesting a hearing.