Drunk Driving – DUI Charges FAQ
Frequently asked questions
What can I expect to happen with my driver’s license after my DUI arrest?
Typically in almost every case, Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL) will revoke, or suspend your driving privileges 60 days after your DUI arrest. This suspension will be for 60 days, and can be increased depending on aggravating circumstances such as prior offenses, blood alcohol content level, or refusal to submit to BAC testing at time of arrest. You may request a DOL hearing to contest suspension of driving privileges, this request must be postmarked within 20 days of your DUI arrest. DOL charges a non-refundable $375.00 fee for these hearings, and payment must be submitted with your request for a DOL hearing.
In some cases you may be able to still drive while suspended by having an Ignition Interlock Device installed on your vehicle and proving financial responsibility by submitting an SR-22. To determine if you qualify for a restricted license during your suspension visit:
Can I defer my DUI in Washington?
Washington offers a deferred prosecution that is constructed very differently than many states. Washington’s Deferred Prosecution allows offenders the ability to avoid jail time and have a case completely dismissed upon completion of the program, but this program is not for everyone.
In order to be eligible for deferred prosecution, the following conditions must be met:
- You must not have been previously granted deferred prosecution in your lifetime.
- You must admit that you have a substance abuse problem or mental illness to the degree that you’re likely to re-offend if you do not receive treatment.
If you meet these requirements, you will be required to complete the following:
- Complete a 2 year substance abuse or mental health treatment program
- These treatment programs often require 3 meetings per week for the first 3 months, 1 meeting per week for the following 8 months, and 1 meeting per month for the remaining 2 years.
- Attend self help classes such as AA, or NA twice a week for the entire 2 years.
- Have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle for a minimum of 1 year.
- pay for all associated costs and court fees for the deferral program.
If you’re able to successfully complete the two year treatment program, your case will remain open for an additional 3 years. After the 5 year period is complete, and if you’ve complied with all of the court’s conditions, the court will dismiss the criminal case as well as the DOL administrative actions.
Since this program is so intensive, it’s advisable to seek legal help before determining that this is your only option as failure to complete the program to the courts satisfaction reinstates all charges.
Does Washington Offer Any DUI Diversion Programs?
The short answer to this question is No. Washington instead offers Deferred Prosecution on DUI cases, and this can only be used one time in your lifetime (see question above: Can I defer my DUI in Washington?). Many people find the requirements for deferred prosecution on DUI in Washington a bit much. Seeking the help of a qualified DUI Attorney to determine if you should opt for deferred prosecution is usually the best choice.
How Long Does a DUI Stay on My Record in Washington?
In Washington a DUI conviction will stay on your Washington driving record for at least 15 years. For insurance purposes, typically insurance companies only pull an abstract report of your driving record for the past 3 years. For criminal purposes, Washington counts subsequent DUI arrests and convictions over a period of 7 to 10 years, there are circumstances where prior DUI’s are counted over a lifetime such as use of deferred prosecution.
I’ve Been Arrested and Charged with DUI, What Penalties am I looking At?
Being charged with DUI, or any alcohol / drug related crime while operating or being in control of a vehicle in Washington is a serious offense. Unlike some other states, Washington has set minimums that cannot be suspended when someone is found guilty of a DUI offense. Circumstances and prior history are important considerations to take into account before deciding on any course of action when it comes to being charged with a DUI. An experienced DUI Attorney can help you decide the best legal defense and course of action.