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What is an ignition interlock driver’s license?

On January 1, 2009 there were sweeping changes brought about by new state laws that affect your right to drive a car if you have had, or might have, your license suspended because you have been convicted of a DUI or Physical Control or if your license was suspended pursuant to the Implied Consent Statute. You may be eligible to apply for an Ignition Interlock License.

With an Ignition Interlock License you will be able to drive a motor vehicle even though your license has been suspended for a DUI or Physical Control or if your license was suspended pursuant to the Implied Consent Statute but there are conditions, limitations and draw backs to an Ignition Interlock License.

Some of the conditions for obtaining and using an Ignition Interlock License include the following:

1) you must have a functioning ignition interlock device, except that under certain limited conditions you may be able to drive a vehicle owned by your employer;

2) you must have proof of SR-22 insurance or other proof of financial Responsibility; and

3) Unless you are declared an indigent you must pay an monthly fee in addition to the cost of installing and renting the ignition interlock device.

Once you get an Ignition Interlock License you need to be aware that there are limitations on its use:

1) you may not use an Ignition Interlock License to drive any vehicle which requires a Commercial Driver’s License;

2) The Ignition Interlock License may not be accepted in other states, territories or provinces so you would need to contact the authorities in other jurisdictions to determine if you can drive in their jurisdiction.

In addition to these conditions and limitations there is still another big drawback.

If you are about to have their license suspended because violation of the implied consent law you have a right to a hearing to contest that suspension but under this new law (RCW 46.20.385(1)(b)) anyone receiving an Ignition Interlock License waives his or her right to a hearing or appeal under the Implied Consent Statute. In my opinion this is a unscrupulous effort by our state legislature to deprive you of your rights to equal protection of the law and access to a fair hearing and I am hoping that it will be held to be unconstitutional. None the less you can be certain that the Attorney General’s position will be that you have waived your right to a hearing and to an appeal if you apply for an Ignition Interlock License.

NEVER apply for an Ignition Interlock License without first consulting with an attorney who is well versed in this complex area of law.

To find out more information from the Department of Licensing about the Ignition Interlock License you may visit the Department of Licensing’s website at www.dol.wa.gov and use the search feature (located in the upper right hand corner of the DOL’s home page) to search for Ignition Interlock License or cut and paste the following into the address line of your web browser

http://www.dol.wa.gov/search.html?q=Ignition+Interlock+License+

You can no longer get an occupational license after January 1, 2009 if your license was suspended because of a DUI or Physical Control. The new laws that went into effect after January 1, 2009 may allow you to get an ignition interlock license instead of an occupational license. A driver who has had their license suspended for another offense, reckless driving for example, may still be eligible for an restricted driver’s license.

What is Physical Control?

Physical Control is a criminal offense very similar to DUI except that the prosecutor does not have to prove that you were actually driving. The penalties for Physical Control are identical to DUI and, with rare exceptions, all the laws and procedures that apply to DUI also apply to Physical Control.

Why do I need an attorney?

The judge is NOT your friend. I believe that most judges try very hard to be fair BUT it is NOT the judge’s job to try to figure out what possible defenses that you might have. It is NOT the judge’s job to make sure that you end up getting a good deal or win at a trial. That is your attorney’s job.

The prosecuting attorney is NOT your friend. It is NOT the prosecutor’s job to make sure that you end up getting a good deal and if the case goes to a trial the prosecutor intends to try to make sure that you lose. It is your attorney’s job to fight for you.

The judge is like the referee in a professional boxing match. The prosecutor is your opponent. Although the referee will try to make sure that it is a “fair fight” but nonetheless he will still stand there and watch while one boxer pounds his opponent into the unconsciousness. If you go into court without a good attorney you should expect the same kind of result as if you went into a boxing ring to fight a professional boxer. You will get beat up.

Should I wait till I get a notice of a court hearing before I hire an attorney?

In some areas in Washington the arresting officer will give you a notice advising you when you will need to go to court for your first court hearing. In other areas of the state they will tell you will get a notice of a court hearing in the mail. That notice may come in a few days or in a year or more.

In either case you should hire an attorney immediately. You only have a short time to ask for a hearing with the Department of Licensing to try to avoid having your driver’s license will be suspended pursuant to the implied consent laws. The prosecutor has years to file criminal charges against you for DUI. Procrastination is not your friend. Furthermore, important evidence may be lost. The police and/or prosecutors have already started working on the case against you.

You will get the best results if you hire an attorney immediately.
case against you. 

Is the information in this website as good as consulting with an attorney?

The information contained in this website is to educate. Nothing in these pages should be relied on as legal advice. If you have been stopped for a DUI, whether or not you think that you have been, or will be charged with a DUI or other criminal or criminal traffic offense, you should consult a qualified DUI defense attorney as soon as possible. Laws change frequently and the information provided in this website, or in the links to outside sources, is/are not guaranteed to be current. This website does not constitute legal advise and in not a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney who has had the opportunity to review all the facts of your case under the laws and regulations in effect at the time.

I just want to get this over with, why can’t I just plead guilty and be done with it?

You can plead guilty but you won’t be done with it. It would be a big mistake!

You may hope that if you just go in and plead guilty the court is just going to impose a reasonable fine and let it go at that but it will not happen that way. The judge will tell you to go get an alcohol evaluation and then come back for still another court hearing. Your license will be suspended. You will have to attend a DUI victims panel and you will have to go to some sort of alcohol education or alcohol treatment program which could last for years. You will be stuck with high risk (SR-22 form) insurance. You will have to get an ignition interlock installed in any car that you drive. Yes, that means that you cannot drive any car unless it has an ignition interlock installed. You will go to jail. You will almost certainly be on probation for five years. The Judge could order that you not drink alcohol for five years but it does not stop there. There is more, much more. The judge will make you pay fines, fees, court costs, assessment, probation fees and restitution and more…

What is an Implied Consent Hearing?

The information in the following paragraphs is a VERY simplified overview of what an Implied Consent Hearing with the Department of Licensing is and some of the procedures and some of the issues covered at this kind of hearing.

If you have been stopped and/or arrested for a DUI or other alcohol related traffic offense you should make arrangements to talk to an experienced DUI defense attorney as soon as possible. Each case is different. Talking directly to an experienced DUI defense attorney is the ONLY way that you can get the information that you need to make informed decisions about what you should do in YOUR case.

An Implied Consent, sometimes called an Administrative Hearing or an Implied Consent hearing is a hearing to determine whether or not you license is going to be suspended because of an alleged violation of the implied consent laws.

Let me give you an example. Let’s say that Driver John Doe is arrested for a DUI. He is taken back to the police station and read his “Implied Consent Warnings” and thereafter he refuses to take a breath test. In that case the arresting officer will send in a notice to the Department of Licensing that you refused the test AND the officer is also supposed to give Driver John Doe information about how to request a hearing. The notice that is given to the driver should also contain information about deadline for requesting a DOL hearing and the applicable fees that must be paid when requesting a hearing.

These hearing are held RCW 46.20.308 and other statutes under RCW 46.20. These hearings are heard by way of a telephone conference call. Typically, the DOL hearing officer will call John Doe’s attorney’s office at the prearranged time for the hearing. If any law enforcement officers have been subpoenaed the DOL hearing officer will also call them. The length of the DOL hearings can be as short as 5 or 10 minutes but some hearings will last as much as an hour or more. Each case is different.

Your attorney will help you decide whether or not to subpoena any troopers or officers to testify at your hearing. You may attend the DOL hearing but you are not required to do so. This means that if you are not going to testify for the hearing you will not need to participate in the telephone conference call.

At the DOL hearing the DOL hearing officer will decide, among other things, if:

1. the arresting officer had reasonable grounds to believe the arrested person had been driving or was in physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of liquor or drugs;
2. there was probable cause for the arrest;
3. the driver was given the proper warnings;
4. that after given the proper warnings the test results were .080 or above or if the driver refused to take the test.

Once the hearing officer has reviewed all the evidence the hearing officer will make a decision about whether or not you license will be suspended or revoked. The hearing officer may make that decision immediately but a more typical scenario is that the hearing officer will say that he or she will consider the matter and render a written decision sometime in the next month or so and send you their decision in the mail. If the hearing officer announces that he or she is sustaining the suspension (in other words if you lose) you may have about 10 days before your license goes into effect. (Please note that you may be eligible for an ignition interlock license.)

The hearing officer will decide whether you driver’s license will be suspend pursuant to the implied consent laws and nothing else. Typically the hearing officer’s decision will not have any effect whatsoever on the criminal proceedings. If you lose at the DOL hearing your license will be suspended pursuant to the implied consent statute. If you win at the DOL proceedings your license will not be suspended pursuant to the Implied Consent Statute BUT it may still be suspended if you are convicted of a DUI or other criminal traffic offense that requires the suspension of your driver’s license.

The information in the paragraphs above is a VERY simplified overview of what an Implied Consent Hearing is and some of the procedures and some of the issues covered at the Implied Consent Hearing with the Department of Licensing.

If you have been stopped and/or arrested for a DUI or other alcohol related traffic offense you should make arrangements to talk to an experienced DUI defense attorney as soon as possible. Each case is different. Talking directly to an experienced DUI defense attorney is the ONLY way that you can get the information that you need to make informed decisions about what you should do in YOUR case.

Call 206-246-3333 right now and schedule a free appointment with Mr. Breidenbach. You will be glad that you did.
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The forgoing information and the other information contained in this website is intended to educate people in the state of Washington and to encourage those people who are or might be in trouble to seek legal advice from a qualified attorney.

Nothing in these pages should be relied on as legal advice. If you have been stopped for a DUI or Physical Control or other criminal or criminal traffic offense you should consult a qualified attorney as soon as possible.

DON’T GIVE UP HOPE.

Let me fight for you. I have had over 25 years of experience representing people just like you who have be charged with criminal and traffic offenses, like DUI, right here in the State of Washington.

Call today and schedule a free appointment to see me as soon as possible so that I can show you how I can help you.