The Washington State Department of Licensing has the authority to suspend or revoke the privilege to drive in Washington State. Suspension or revocation may be mandatory or discretionary, depending on the circumstances. However, the driver has the opportunity to challenge a license suspension or revocation in a hearing. Our office can help you with these hearings, protecting your ability to drive or reinstating your ability to do so legally.
The Right to a Hearing
For all mandatory suspensions, an affected driver has the right to notice of a pending suspension and the opportunity to contest the suspension. A timely request for a hearing is a prerequisite; in many instances, the window for requesting a hearing is very short. For example, for a DUI administrative hearing, the affected driver typically has only 20 days after arrest (or notice of pending suspension) to request a hearing.
Length of Suspensions or Revocations
A suspension is the loss of a driver’s license for period of less than a year, while a revocation is the loss of license for a year or more. The shortest possible suspension is 30 days and is often seen for Reckless Driving convictions. Revocations are typically for a year, although in some instances can be for several years. For a person classified as a Habitual Traffic Offender, a revocation is generally for seven years.
Suspensions and revocations may stack up, so two separate convictions requiring a revocation of a year will result in a two-year license revocation.
If a Hearing is Requested
Typically, suspensions and revocations take place 45 days after notice is given to the affected individual. When a hearing is requested, a hearing date will be set and the license suspension or revocation will be “stayed” until a result of the hearing is determined.
Types of Suspensions and Revocations
There are many different reasons a license can be suspended or revoked. Here is a list of commonly seen causes of suspension or revocation for which a hearing is available:
1) Not following through with required alcohol/drug treatment
2) Fraud upon Department of Licensing (such as fraudulent application for a license)
3) Continuing offenses (too many traffic tickets)
4) Refusal to Submit to a Breath Test
5) Breath Test, or Blood Test, with levels above legal limit
6) Too many traffic infractions
7) Three or more major moving violations in a five-year period
8) Failing to take a driving examination required by DOL
9) Suspension in the interests of safety