If you have been charged with DUI in Washington you’ve probably already heard about the Washington Department of Licensing (DOL) hearings. However, for those who are not familiar with the hearings here’s a quick overview: if you are charged with DUI in the state of Washington, the police may take away your license before your court trial. This means that, regardless of whether you are proven guilty or not in court, your license may be taken away in the time before the trial. In order to get your license back before the trial, you may have to file a request with the Washington DOL for a hearing. In these situations, there are a few things the DOL may look for in your hearing. However, it may be difficult to be successful without an experienced Washington DUI attorney by your side. Therefore, the best thing to do may be to get an attorney to file for a hearing on your behalf and attend the hearings for you.
Of course, it’s may be better to have an experienced DUI lawyer do this for you. However, if you choose to file and attend the hearings by yourself, you can request a DUI hearing online, or complete a Request for DUI Hearing form and mail it in. Keep in mind, a request for a hearing may have a fee of $375 and you may only have a limited time period after your arrest in which you are able to file. If you are found to be indigent under the Washington State Poverty Guidelines, you may file an application for DUI indigent waiver in order to request the $375 fee to be waived.
The most important things you should know when you choose to prepare for a hearing without the help of a Washington DUI lawyer are what the examiner may be looking for, what happens during the hearing, and what your legal rights are. Also, keep in mind that even if you are successful in getting your license back after the hearings, if you are then found guilty of DUI in court, your license may still be suspended. The DOL hearings are only designed for getting your license back after a Washington DUI arrest, not a Washington DUI conviction.
In order to prepare for your hearing, you may want to know a little about what is going through the examiner’s head. There are a few things almost every examiner may be looking for:
- Whether or not you were lawfully arrested for DUI
- Whether or not the officer had reasonable reason to believe you had been driving while under the influence
- Whether the officer told you about your rights and warnings, as required by law
- Whether you refused to submit the test or, if you did take the test, whether the test resulted in a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 if you are 21, or older or a BAC of 0.02 if you were under 21
The next most important thing you may want to know is what happens during the hearings. The examiner first tells you that your testimony may be recorded and that you are under oath. Next, the examiner reviews the issues to be decided with you and take note of any prepared exhibits such as a copy of the police report or any other evidence. You may have the right to object to any evidence or testimony presented and the examiner may decide whether to consider the exhibit.
Next, the testimony portion begins. You may have the right to testify, present any additional evidence that you may have, question and cross-examine any witnesses, and bring forth your own witnesses if you so choose.
After the hearing examiner reviews the case (a process that may take several weeks without the help of an experienced Washington DUI attorney), he may decide about the suspension or revocation of your license. In the meantime, you may be given a temporary license.
Hiring an Experienced Washington DUI Attorney
As you can see, DOL hearings may be complex and building up a viable defense based on what you know about Washington DUI charges and DOL hearings may be even more difficult. That’s why it may be important to have a capable Tacoma DUI attorney at your side. At Murphy’s Law Offices, we have years of experience defending individuals from Washington DUI charges and we are ready to help you. A Washington DUI charge can have very serious, potentially life-changing consequences, so act now. Contact Dan Murphy’s Law Offices today for a free consultation.
Call today — (253) 312-6122 — your future may depend on it.