DUI offenses rank high among the most common crimes in the country. Being arrested for DUI isn’t good, and the consequences can be terrifying and complicated. The arrest record can also impact your life for many years. While most drivers arrested for DUI are usually good people with clean driving records, those convicted usually face harsh penalties.

One of the most common concerns of DUI arrests for the accused person is whether they’ll have their driver’s license suspended. In such a situation, the best thing would be to contact a Seattle criminal justice attorney. The lawyer can provide legal representation and aggressively fight to defend your rights to have the charges reduced or dropped.

Is a DUI Charge a Serious Offense in Seattle, WA?

A DUI charge in Seattle is a serious offense that can be charged as a felony or gross misdemeanor. The maximum penalty is 364 days in jail when brought as a gross misdemeanor. That’s in addition to or instead of a $5,000 fine.

A DUI is a felony if:

  • You have four or more previous DUI-related offenses within ten years
  • You have a previous conviction of a DUI felony
  • You have a prior record of vehicular homicide or assault while under the influence

Given the penalties of a DUI conviction, you will want to work closely with a Seattle DUI defense lawyer to evaluate your legal options and the risks your case carries. 

How Does a DUI Charge in Seattle Affect My License?

Truck drivers suffer the most when arrested with a DUI because of the severe consequences that may follow a DUI prosecution. That’s regardless of whether they’re convicted of driving under the influence. The State of Washington s one of those that require the revocation of a commercial driver’s license (CDL) upon a DUI conviction of administrative hearing.

Whether you lose your license due to a DUI depends on various factors. Losing your license can affect your ability to get employment in the future. It also affects your everyday life, especially if you’re used to driving yourself around. To avoid such adverse effects, you must have a skilled and experienced DUI defense attorney in Seattle to represent you and fervently fight the charges.

Here are the circumstances that can lead to the suspension of your driver’s license:

Administrative CDL Revocation

If your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08% or more and you’re over 21 years, you can be arrested for DUI. If you’re a commercial driver, the percentage drops to 0.04%. For drivers below 21 years, a BAC of 0.02% can get them arrested and immediately charged with DUI, which can result in an automatic suspension of the driver’s license.

An administrative CDL revocation happens for various reasons, including the following:

  • Having a detectable level of marijuana or a BAC of 0.04% or higher while driving a commercial vehicle
  • Driving a personal car with a breath or blood sample that exceeds the legal limit
  • Failing to provide a sample for testing upon request by law enforcement officers, whether you’re a commercial or private driver

When one of these circumstances applies, the Department of Licensing can issue a notice to revoke the license. However, your license won’t be suspended if you’re cleared of the DUI charges in the administrative hearing. The hearing must happen within 20 days of your arrest, and it would help to have a DUI defense lawyer in Seattle to defend you.

Court Order License Suspension

Your license can also be suspended through a court order if you’re convicted of a DUI. The Washington Law RWC 46.61.5055 stipulates the following penalties for a DUI conviction:

  • First-time offense in 7 years: 90 days for a BAC of less than 0.15 or where there were no sobriety test results. You risk getting a 1-year suspension if your BAC is 0.15 or more.
  • Second offense in 7 years: 2 years for a BAC of less than 0.15 and 900 days for a BAC of 0.15 or more
  • Third offense in 7 years: 3 years for a BAC of less than 0.15 and 4 years for a BAC of 0.15 or more
  • If you refuse to take a BAC test, you risk getting the following penalties:
  • Two years’ suspension for a first-time offense in 7 years
  • Three years for a second offense in 7 years
  • Four years for a third offense in 7 years

If you have previously had your license suspended through an administrative hearing, you’ll get a less harsh court-ordered suspension.

What Are the Consequences of License Suspension?</h2

Once the court suspends your license, you’re prohibited from driving until the suspension lapses. That affects your ability to drive to work or drop your kids off at school. If you need to drive during this time, you must request an ignition interlock driver’s ticket. If granted, it will be installed.

Other potential consequences include:

  • Higher insurance premiums if your insurance provider learns about the DUI arrest
  • Job loss and scarring of your present and future professional relationships
  • The record appears in your background checks and affects your housing, employment, or college applications
  • Court-mandated community service

According to the Revised Code of Washington 9.96.060, a DUI stays on your driving record forever. It’s not one of the crimes eligible for expungement from your driving records.

A Skilled and Experienced Lawyer Fighting for Your Driving Privileges

A license suspension has severe consequences and can affect your life in many ways. The Department of Licensing in Washington automatically suspends licenses for DUI arrests for between 90 days and two years. DUI convictions attract a suspension of up to four years. That’s why it would help to have a Seattle DUI defense attorney fight for you to have the charges dropped.

Our Seattle criminal justice lawyer wants to represent you in your DUI case and aggressively fight to protect your rights. We can provide legal counsel and ensure you request a hearing within the 20-day limit to prevent the automatic suspension of your license. Call us to get started.