Drivers arrested for DUI in 2019 face a swift suspension rule that takes effect in January.
According to Washington DUI lawyer Ziad Youssef, here’s how the law works: Starting in January, if the Department of Licensing gets notice that a driver has been arrested for DUI, they will suspend that person’s drivers license unless they request a hearing to challenge the suspension within a short period of time.
“What makes the rule swift,” Youssef explains, “is that drivers only have a few days to decide what to do.”
The old rule allowed drivers to apply for a hearing within 20 days of their arrest, which gave them much more time to consult with a lawyer and understand their rights. Drivers arrested for a first offense DUI could face a minimum 90 days suspension, and those who refuse to submit to a formal breath test could face at least a one-year suspension.
Most DUI arrests start as a simple traffic stop
Most DUI arrests start as a simple traffic stop, like speeding or an improper turn, “but officers are trained to always investigate for possible impairment during even a simple traffic stop, especially during the holidays,” Youssef says.
Officers will frequently ask a driver to submit to standardized field sobriety or a portable breath test, both of which drivers have the right to refuse without penalty. It’s the formal, evidentiary breath test results or its refusal that triggers a DUI suspension.
Under the new rule, drivers will only have seven days to request a hearing to fight for their license. Otherwise, they waive their right to a hearing and their license will be suspended within weeks of their arrest. If drivers miss the deadline, the only way to keep driving legally will require that they install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle and submit proof of SR-22 form for proof of insurance.
Youssef says that many more drivers are likely to miss this shortened deadline and recommends that anyone arrested for a DUI this holiday season get good legal advice about their rights immediately.
Learn more about Ziad Youssef: Voted Best Attorney Of The Northwest 2018, Ziad has been practicing law and focused on DUI defense for 15 years.