An arrest for suspected driving under the influence (DUI) in Washington results in driver’s license revocation. A driver may request an administrative hearing before a state agency to contest a license revocation, and if successful, may be able to have the license reinstated. An alternative is to request an ignition interlock driver license (IIL). This allows a person to use their vehicle after installation of an ignition interlock device (IID), which prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver’s breath shows a breath alcohol content (BAC) above a certain level. In any sort of license suspension proceeding, an experienced Washington criminal defense lawyer can help you assert your rights and work to minimize the impact of the case on your life.

Ignition Interlock Device

An IID is a device that tests a driver’s breath to determine BAC. It prevents the engine from starting if the BAC reading is 0.025 percent or higher. An IID must be installed by a state-certified installer, who provides proof of installation to the state’s Department of Licensing. The driver is responsible for the cost of installing and maintaining the IID, although the state offers financial assistance for people who meet state poverty guidelines.

State law requires installation of an IID for a minimum period of time after a conviction for DUI and other driving-related offenses. For a first DUI offense, the minimum period that the state requires an IID is one year. For a second offense, the period is five years, and for subsequent offenses, it is ten years.

Ignition Interlock Driver License

After an arrest for DUI, a person may be able to obtain an IIL, which is a driver’s license conditioned on the use of an IID. Applying for an IIL waives the right to request an administrative hearing to contest the license revocation. An IIL is not available to a person whose license revocation involves a minor in possession charge, or someone classified as a habitual traffic offender. An application for an IIL requires proof of financial responsibility, such as SR-22 insurance, and proof of IID installation.

Removal of Ignition Interlock Device

A driver may have the IID removed after the end of the minimum period required by law, but the IID installer must provide proof to the Department of Licensing that, during the four-month period prior to seeking removal of the device, the driver has not attempted to start the vehicle with a BAC of 0.04 percent or higher, failed to maintain the IID properly, failed to pass retests required by law, or missed any such retests. Early removal of an IID results in suspension of driving privileges. Removing an IID while a restricted license, including an IIL, is in effect results in cancellation of the license. Removal of an IID after reinstatement of a person’s driver’s license, but before the end of the required IID period, results in license suspension.

Washington state law and the U.S. Constitution guarantee you certain rights in criminal investigations and prosecutions. If you have been charged with an alleged DUI offense, you should consult with an experienced Washington criminal DUI defense attorney, who can advise you of your rights in both a criminal case and an administrative license suspension matter. Vindicate Criminal Law Group has over twenty years of experience in the criminal court systems of Seattle, Lakewood, and elsewhere in Washington state. Contact us today for your confidential case evaluation, online or at (888) 312-3093