Category Archives: Washington DOL Hearing

Ignition Interlock License and DOL Appeals

Posted on May 13, 2014   |   by Lundin Law PLLC

Have you received a Washington administrative license suspension following a Washington State DUI arrest and wanted to appeal but didn’t because you would have to give up the option of driving on an Ignition Interlock License (IIL)?  In 2008, the Legislature passed a statute (RCW 46.20.385(1)(b)) that forced drivers to choose between appealing a bad ruling by a DOL Hearing Examiner and driving on an IIL during the suspension period.  Under this scheme, appealing an erroneous decision meant, in most cases, that those drivers had no ability to drive whatsoever during the suspension, whereas drivers who did not challenge the suspension were able to use the IIL.

Fortunately, this grossly unfair disparity was challenged and the Washington Court of Appeals ruled that the DOL’s system was unlawful.  Nielsen vs. Department of Licensing, 177 Wash. App. 45 (2013), argued by attorney Ryan B. Robertson, held that the statute was unconstitutional because it deprived drivers of meaningful access to judicial review of administrative suspension.  In other words, it was unreasonable to burden a driver’s ability to appeal a license suspension by forcing them to forgo the benefit of using an IIL.

This development was an important step in securing drivers’ rights and protecting procedural fairness.  The problem now is that the statute itself has not yet been changed, so it still suggests that obtaining an IIL will result in a waiver of the right to appeal an adverse decision.  Thus there is still some public confusion about drivers’ rights following an administrative suspension ruling.  For additional information, consulting an attorney who handles DUI defense in Washington can help clarify your individual circumstances.

Washington License Suspension Notices Are Incomplete

Posted on April 24, 2014   |   by Lundin Law PLLC

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.