Department of Licensing (DOL) Hearings

“I was arrested for DUI last night in Vancouver. The police officer gave me paperwork to request a hearing with the Washington DOL. What are my legal rights?”

Under RCW 46.20.308, ‘the department of licensing, upon receipt of a sworn report or report under a lawful declaration, shall suspend, revoke, or deny the person’s license, permit, or privilege to drive or any nonresident operating privilege, as provided in RCW 46.20.3101, such suspension, revocation, or denial to be effective beginning sixty days from the date of the arrest or from the date notice has been given in the event notice is given by the department following a blood test, or when sustained at hearing pursuant to subsection (8) of this section whichever occurs first.’

In short, unless you request a hearing with the Department of Licensing, your license will be suspended 60 days from the day of your arrest or from the date notice has been given in the event notice is given by the department following a blood test, or when sustained at a hearing pursuant to subsection (8) of RCW 46.20.308 which ever occurs first.

Put another way, if you do not request a hearing in a timely manner. Your right to a hearing is irrevocably waived. If you have been charged with Driving Under the Influence, you should talk to a lawyer immediately. Time is of the essence.

“How much time do I have to request a hearing once I receive notice?”

A person receiving notification under RCW 46.20.308 has 20 days to request in writing a formal hearing before the department. The person shall pay a fee of $375.00 as part of the request. If the request is mailed, it must be postmarked within 20 days after receipt of the notification. Upon timely receipt of such a request for a formal hearing, including receipt of $375.00, the department shall afford the person an opportunity for a hearing. In some instances the hearing fee may be waived, if the person is indigent as defined in RCW 10.101.010. Hearing requests can also be made online.

Here is a helpful link on how to request a hearing:

http://www.dol.wa.gov/driverslicense/hearingsrequest.html

“When will hearing be held?”

The hearing shall be held within sixty days following the arrest or following the date notice has been given in the event notice is given by the department following a blood test, unless otherwise agreed to by the department and the person, in which case the action by the department shall be stayed, and any valid temporary license marked is extended, if the person is eligible for licensing.

In other words, the petitioner has a right to a hearing within 60 days of the date of notice; however, if the attorney for the petitioner needs more time to prepare and the DOL grants a request to continue the case, the case can be set outside the 60 days. If the person seeking the request is eligible for licensing, the DOL will extend his/her right to drive thus extending the date the suspension was originally supposed to occur.

“What issues will be addressed during the hearing?”

Under the statute, the scope of the hearing shall cover the issues of whether a law enforcement officer had reasonable grounds to believe the person had been driving or was in actual physical control of a motor vehicle within Washington while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug or had been driving or was in actual physical control of a motor vehicle within Washington while having alcohol in his or her system in a concentration of .02 or more if the person was under the age of twenty-one, whether the person was placed under arrest, and (a) whether the person refused to submit to the test or tests upon request of the officer after having been informed that such refusal would result in the revocation of the person’s license, permit or privilege to drive, or (b) if a test or tests were administered , whether the applicable requirements of the law were satisfied before the administration of the test or tests, whether the person submitted to the test or tests, or whether a test was administered without express consent as permitted under this section, and whether the tests or tests indicated that the alcohol concentration of the person’s breath or blood was 0.08 or more if the person was twenty-one or over at the time of the arrest, or 0.02 or more if the person was under the age of twenty-one at the time of the arrest.

“If I do not live in Washington but was stopped for DWI, can I sill request a hearing with the DOL?”

Yes.

Consult with an Experienced DUI Attorney:

The law can be a complicated creature. Statutes cross-referencing other statutes. Statutes cross-referencing subsections within a statute. Chances are you do not have the time it takes to prepare yourself for a hearing.

Take the guess work out of what to do. If you feel overwhelmed, you should call a Washington Criminal Defense attorney at (360) 693-6228.