In Washington, if you have a driver’s license, you’ve implicitly consented to take a breath test if the police suspect you of driving under the influence (DUI). If you refuse to take the test, the officer detaining you is supposed to let you know that you have the right to refuse, but that the refusal will result in a mandatory driver’s license suspension. The length of the suspension will vary depending on whether this is a first or subsequent offense. At Blair & Kim, our experienced Seattle DUI attorneys may be able to provide aggressive, knowledgeable legal representation for your DUI refusal, as well as DUI criminal charges.DUI Refusal
Under Revised Code of Washington (RCW) section 46.20.308, someone who operates a car or other motor vehicle in Washington is deemed to have consented to breath tests if arrested for a crime in which the arresting officer has a reasonable basis to think the driver was actually, physically controlling the vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Breath tests are supposed to be administered at the police officer’s direction. Before administration of the breath test, the police officer should let the suspect know there is a right to refuse and warn about potential consequences.
If requested, the breath test should be taken within 2 hours of you driving. Generally, blood tests are administered only if you’re suspected to be under the influence of drugs, getting treated in a medical facility, or unconscious at the scene or in the hospital.
Although an officer cannot usually force you to take a chemical test, there are exceptions. You may be required to take a chemical test if somebody was seriously injured or killed in connection with the DUI. Similarly, if you are left unconscious due to a drunk driving accident, the officer would not need to ask you before getting the test administered.
The potential consequences for DUI refusal in Washington vary. If you refuse to take the test, your driver’s license can be denied or revoked for a minimum of a year. Additionally, your refusal to take the breath test can be used against you in a criminal trial. However, if you are 21 and submit to the test and the test shows your BAC is. 08 or more, your driver’s license can be denied, revoked, or suspended for at least 90 days. If you’re a driver under age 21 and your BAC is .02 or more, your driver’s license can also be denied, revoked, or suspended for a minimum of 90 days. You may be able to apply for an ignition interlock device once your license, permit, or driving privilege is denied, revoked, or suspended.Hearing
You can ask for a hearing to challenge your suspension for the DUI refusal. You’ll need to pay a fee and make a formal request for the hearing. You will be provided with temporary driving privileges that last until your hearing date. If you don’t ask for the hearing or you ask for a hearing and can’t prove the police didn’t have reasonable cause to believe you were driving under the influence or that you did consent to the test, your license remains on a one-year suspension.DUI Refusal Penalties
A DUI conviction is a criminal traffic offense that carries criminal penalties. You can be arrested for DUI without a chemical test if a police officer has probable cause to believe you perpetrated a DUI. Two cases will be brought against you, one criminal and one administrative. These are independent cases. If you don’t ask for a Department of Licensing hearing within the appropriate time frame, your license will be suspended automatically. Our lawyers can handle both criminal DUI cases and hearings before the Department of Licensing.Consult an Experienced DUI Refusal Attorney in Seattle
If you are facing drunk driving charges in or near Seattle, you should take both the criminal DUI case and the DUI refusal case seriously, and consider retaining a criminal defense lawyer who can represent you in both hearings. We defend those accused of DUI and DUI refusal in communities including Kings County, Bellevue, Kirkland and Redmond. Call us at (206) 622-6562 or contact us via our online form.