The Washington Department of Licensing (DOL) has a reputation for being deceptive in its correspondence with drivers, and rightfully so. One of the biggest sources of confusion stems from the Notices of Suspension issued by DOL in the event of a conviction or an administrative action stemming from a DUI arrest. Far from a “model of clarity,” these Washington licenses suspension notices do not include many important details, including the fact that a driver may be eligible to obtain an ignition interlock license (IIL), which would enable them to drive during the suspension period. Also absent is any information as to what the qualifications are for an IIL, or instructions on how to obtain one.
Thus, many drivers don’t even realize that they can use an IIL to drive during a period of license suspension. Although the law provides this option, drivers relying solely on the written notice from DOL would never know it exists.
Similarly, the notices of suspension following conviction do not include an itemized list of what an individual driver must do to reinstate his/her driving privileges. For example, the DOL’s letter may refer to an interlock device and proof of financial responsibility in general, but fails to detail the length of such requirements and doesn’t mention such items as when re-testing is mandated and/or when proof of compliance with required treatment is necessary.
The moral of this story is that correspondence produced by the Department of Licensing is often not complete, and drivers should make their own inquiries to determine their eligibility for driving options and reinstatement.