When a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) arrest occurs in Washington State the government does not immediately take away someone’s driver’s license. The key word is “immediately.” Many people think they lose their license at the time they are arrested for a DUI. This is incorrect. There may be a suspension some time after the DUI arrest, but it is not immediate or even the next day.

Several historical and legal issues have led to confusion about when a driver’s license suspension hits after a DUI arrest. Law enforcement used to punch a hole in a DUI arrestee’s license if they blew above .08 for alcohol. This simply meant there was a pending suspension of this license. Even though law enforcement stopped punching this hole years ago, many people still remember it. Today, when law enforcement arrests someone for DUI the officer is required to tow and impound their vehicle. This confiscation of their vehicle often leads the arrested person to wonder if they can legally drive the next day. The short answer is that if your license was valid at the time of arrest, then it’s still valid the day after a DUI arrest.

Under 2018 Washington State law a person who has been arrested for DUI will lose their license 60 days after arrest unless they request a hearing to challenge that loss of license. On January 1, 2019 Washington law changes and reduces this timing from 60 days to 30 days. There are some exceptions to these time limits for blood draw cases or if the person actually blows below the legal limit, but it’s always best to speak with a DUI attorney to get the best information about your case.

The law does allow a person accused of DUI to fight to save their license. There are deadlines regarding when arrested person can file for a hearing against the Washington State Department of Licensing. Just as the duration between arrest and potential suspension is changing, the deadline for requesting a hearing to challenge the suspension is also changing in 2019. That is why anyone arrested for DUI should immediately contact an experienced DUI attorney who can discuss the specific steps they should take for the best outcome.