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Department of Licensing (DOL) Hearing Procedure in Washington State


Washington Suspended License DOL Hearing

The Basics of a DUI DOL Hearing


When a person is arrested for DUI, the arresting officer will usually “punch” their driver’s license and provide the driver with a form to contest the license suspension. The driver has to mail the form to the Department of Licensing (DOL) along with a $375 hearing fee within 20 days from the arrest. If the driver fails to properly request a DUI DOL hearing, the driver waives his or her opportunity and the license suspension will begin automatically 60 days after the arrest.

By requesting a hearing, the driver also “tolls” the license suspension until the actual hearing and a written order of suspension.

After the DOL receives the driver’s contested hearing request, it will assign a hearing officer and set a hearing date. The driver or their attorney will receive a copy of the police report and other documents pertaining to the BAC machine. Once a hearing has been scheduled, it may be continued or rescheduled at the discretion of the hearing officer.

The DOL contested hearings are done over the phone. The hearing officer will call the driver, their attorney, and the arresting officer (if the driver subpoenas the arresting officer). The hearing officer will advice all parties that the hearing is being recorded and will swear in all witnesses. The hearing officer will listed to arguments and evidence presented by the driver’s attorney and listen to the testimony of any other witnesses.

After the hearing, the examining officer will review the evidence presented at and will make a decision about the suspension or revocation of the petitioner’s license. The decision may take up to 6 weeks from the date of the hearing. The petitioner’s driver’s license remains valid until hearing officer makes a decision.

For questions not answered here or for more information, please call our firm to speak to a DUI attorney at (206) 771-4343

Failure to Request a DOL Hearing

From the time you are arrested for DUI, you have 20 days to request a hearing with the Department of Licensing. If you fail to request the DUI DOL hearing, your license will be automatically suspended on the 60th day following your arrest.

You will likely receive a letter from the Department of Licensing with the notice of the license suspension and the date the suspension will be effective and when you will be eligible to reinstate your license.

If you have any further questions, please be sure to speak to our DUI attorneys at (206) 771-4343

The Cost of the DUI Department of Licensing Hearing

The administrative fee for DUI hearing with the Department of Licensing is $375. This fee must be paid at the time of the request to challenge the suspension of your license.

You may be entitled to a waiver of the $375 fee if your household income is below a certain monthly amount. Please check with the DOL regarding the additional forms to fill out to apply for the hearing waiver.

20-Day Rule and the DUI DOL Hearing

You only have 20 days from the time of your arrest to request a hearing with the Department of Licensing to challenge the suspension of your license. Some people facing DUI don’t realize that the 20-days includes weekends and holidays. We generally recommend speaking to a DUI Attorney before mailing your hearing request form to the DOL. If you retain our firm to represent you during the DUI process, we prefer to mail the request form ourselves to make sure that everything is done correctly. Not that we don’t trust you, but after handling countless DUI DOL hearings, we are probably know “a thing or two” about the forms.

Contact our firm should you have any questions about the DOL forms. We can be reached at (206) 771-4343

Department of Licensing Rulings

The DOL administrative decisions usually take about 30 days. There are certain exceptions, but a 30-day rule of thumb is usually pretty accurate. The hearing officer’s decision is typically in writing. If the Department of Licensing rules in your favor, the license suspension will be cancelled. If the Department rules against you, the notice will include the date and time of when your license suspension will take effect. You must stop driving at that time unless you apply for a “special” license to allow you to drive during the suspension period.

Don’t hesitate to speak to our attorneys about your DUI and the license suspension. Contact us at (206) 771-4343