Your License When You Get a DUI

What Happens to Your License When You Get a DUI

When you have a DUI there are 2 separate legal processes to be handled.

  • One is the Criminal side of the DUI that is addressed by the presiding Court.
  • The other is the Administrative Hearing by the Department of Licensing.

The arresting officer will file the DUI report as required to address these two legal steps.

How Long is my License Good For?

The suspension of your driver’s license will begin 30 days from the date of your DUI arrest.   

Department of Licensing Administrative Hearing

You have 7 days, from the date of the arrest, to request a hearing with the Department of Licensing to contest the suspension.

This hearing will be held by telephone and the results will be mailed to you.

When you hire Merrill Law for your DUI, the Attorney will handle the Department of Licensing telephone hearing for you, or you have the option to represent yourself.

What will the Department of Licensing Consider?

During your Department of License Administrative hearing the examiner will consider several details.

  • Were you under lawful arrest.
  • Did the officer have reasonable grounds to believe you had been driving or were in physical control of a motor vehicle in the state of Washington while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug,
  • Were you advised of your rights and warnings.
  • Did you refuse to submit to a test, or if you did take the test.
  • Did the test indicate an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more if you were 21 or over or 0.02 if you were under the age of 21.

What to Expect If You Handle the Hearing Yourself.

The telephone hearing examiner will advise you that the testimony will be recorded and that all the testimony provided during the hearing is under oath.

The examiner will review the issues to be decided, and identify the exhibits.  Exhibits may include the police report and breathalyzer report.

This is the opportunity to object to the admission of evidence or testimony.  If an objection is made, the examiner will determine if it is appropriate to admit the evidence or testimony.  

All the witnesses will be sworn in and the examiner will listen to their testimony.  At this point you have the opportunity to testify, present evidence, cross-examine any of the state’s witnesses or you may bring your own witnesses to the hearing.  

The hearing examiner will adjourn the hearing.  

Following the hearing, the examiner will review all of the evidence that was submitted and will make a decision regarding the suspension of your license.  

The review process may take the hearing examiner up to 6 weeks from the date of the hearing.  

If your license is valid, a temporary license will be extended to you until the hearing examiner makes the final decision.  

The examiner will mail a letter to the address that you have on record to notify you of the decision.

If You Do Not Request an Administrative Hearing.

Your license will only be valid for 30 days from the date of the DUI arrest.  Your license will then be suspended for 90 days or more.

We know that DUIs can be a life changing event but it isn’t the end of the world.  

Contact us now to ask additional questions or to hire an experienced attorney who has deep connections with the local legal system.


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Understanding a DUI Stop

Understanding A DUI Stop

You grab your keys, hop into the driver’s seat and get on the road.  Soon you notice the red and blue lights flashing in your rear view mirror.

You have been out for some fun, enjoying a few alcoholic beverages and you are now realizing that you could be charged with a DUI.

If you have committed a traffic infraction, an officer will pull you over.  

When the officer approaches the window of the vehicle, he will notice if there is an odor of alcohol or drugs from the car, if your eyes are glassy or bloodshot, your speech is slurred or your mannerisms are impaired.  

The Field Sobriety Test

With a reasonable suspicion of drunk driving, the officer will ask you to step out of the car and complete a field sobriety test.

A field sobriety test is a series of 3 tests that will be administered by an officer to determine the impairment of the driver and establish probable cause for arrest.  

  • Test one is the horizontal gaze nystagmus test  

The officer will observe the driver’s eyes as the driver follows a slowly moving object, usually this is done with a writing utensil or a small flashlight.  

  • Test two is the walk and turn test.  

This requires the driver to listen, follow instructions, while performing the simple physical movements.  The driver will be asked to take nine steps, heel-to-toe along a straight line, and then turn on one foot and return to the starting position walking along the same straight line heel-to-toe.  

  • The third and final test is the one-leg stand test.  

The driver will be asked to stand with one foot approximately six inches off of the ground and then will be directed to count aloud by thousands until the officer directs the driver to place the foot down.  

The officer will be looking for indicators of impairment, which include swaying while balancing, use of the arms for balance, hopping to help maintain balance, and placing the foot down for balance.

Breath Test

The officer may also ask you to take a portable breath test to measure your blood alcohol content.

Should you Take the Test

If you are suspected of driving while under the influence, It is important that you speak with an attorney prior to taking any type of test to determine your ability to drive.

If you refuse to take the tests, the officer may place you under arrest and you may be taken to jail.  

Knowing your Rights

Within a reasonable amount of time, the arresting officer is required to notify you of your right to talk to an attorney.  

It is important that you speak with an attorney as soon as possible to help determine which course of action you should take to help with your situation.

What are the Consequences?

Receiving a DUI is a serious offense and may lead to time in jail, suspension of your license, probation and many other requirements or penalties.

We know that DUIs can be a life changing event but it is not the end of the world.  

Contact us nowto ask additional questions or to hire an experienced attorney who has deep connections with the local legal system.


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What is Deferred Prosecution?

What is a Deferred Prosecution for DUI Cases?

A deferred prosecution is something that should not be taken lightly.  If you have been charged with a DUI or physical control in Washington State you are only eligible for deferred prosecution once in a lifetime.  If you are able to complete all of the court imposed conditions after a 5 year period, the DUI charge will be dismissed.  

Deferred prosecution has its benefits.  It can help you keep your driver’s license, avoid having to serve jail time, as well help those with serious drug or alcohol dependency achieve sobriety.


There is a strict criteria that you must meet before you can be eligible for deferred prosecution.

  1. You cannot have been granted a deferred prosecution in your lifetime
  2. You must be diagnosed by a court approved substance abuse counselor as alcohol dependent, drug dependent or have mental health issues diagnosed by a mental health professional
  3. You must be enrolled and complete a 2 year treatment program for alcohol or drug abuse, or a 2 year treatment program for mental health treatment. RCW 10.05.020

Serious Considerations

When you enter into a deferred prosecution program you need to consider several court requirements

  1. When you agree to a deferred prosecution for a DUI, you must give up the opportunity to fight your case in court. Meaning if at all during the 5 year period you are found out of compliance with the terms of the deferred prosecution, the presiding judge would read the police report from DUI charge, and you could be found guilty of the DUI charge without the ability to present evidence in your defense.
  2. After you have successfully completed the deferred prosecution program and the DUI charge is dismissed, the deferred prosecution is still considered a prior offense. RCW 46.61.5055
  3. When accepting a deferred prosecution you are legally required to state that you have an alcohol or drug abuse problem or suffering from mental health issues, and by stating this you agree that without professional treatment the possibility of a repeat offense is likely.
  4. You are required to be abstinent from alcohol and non-prescribed, mood altering drugs during the 5 year deferred program. You will be required to submit random urinalysis tests through the treatment agency and probation to confirm your abstinence from alcohol or drugs.
  5. A rigorous 2 year treatment program for alcohol, drug abuse or mental health is required.
  6. There are several costs to consider when entering into a deferred prosecution program. You will be required to take financial responsibility for any treatment program expenses as well as probation costs. Courts will consider probation costs to be paid over a length of time, however it is important to understand that expenses can range in the $1000’s
  7. The court will require you to have an ignition interlock device as well as an ignition interlock license. The Washington State Department of Licensing might have this requirement as well, depending on if your license has been suspended by them.

All Things Considered

Getting a DUI is a serious offense, and having the right people in your corner to help you get through this hiccup in your life can be life changing.  Rick is an experienced DUI attorney that can help you navigate the legal process.

Give us a Call

If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of receiving a DUI, please don’t hesitate to give Rick a call.  He is an experienced DUI attorney and has been handling DUI cases since 1992.

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