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How long can someone lose their license due to a DUI conviction?

On Behalf of | Mar 13, 2024 | DUI

Many Washington drivers have a baseline understanding of what a driving under the influence (DUI) conviction might mean for their personal freedoms. The potential penalties a judge could impose may include incarceration, fines and probation.

It is also quite common for the courts to suspend the driver’s license of the motorist convicted of impairment at the wheel. Losing a driver’s license is highly inconvenient. It can affect someone’s finances, their career and even their relationships. The longer someone goes without a driver’s license, the more likely they are to have secondary consequences because they cannot drive.

How long can a judge strip someone of their driver’s license for after a DUI conviction or guilty plea in Washington?

The circumstances determine the penalties

Washington has numerous different laws about licensing for those with a record of impaired driving. It is standard procedure for the state to automatically suspend the driver’s license of someone arrested for a DUI unless they request a hearing. People generally only have seven days after their arrest to request that the state let them keep their driver’s license.

Even if someone requests a hearing and initially maintains their license, they could lose it later if they plead guilty to the pending DUI charge or the prosecutor secures a conviction. The licensing penalties after a conviction can be drastically different depending on the circumstances.

Someone’s prior offenses and even their compliance with officers during the arrest process can influence what penalties a judge sentences them to after their conviction. A first-time DUI conviction could result in a 90-day license suspension. A second DUI charge could lead to a full year without a driver’s license. If someone refuses a breath test after their arrest, the state could suspend their license for up to two years.

Those who understand the possible risks may have an easier time navigating an impaired driving traffic stop and deciding how to respond after their arrest for an alleged DUI offense. The risk of losing driving privileges is one of many reasons that people often choose to fight pending DUI charges. Learning more about how Washington handles impaired driving offenses by seeking legal guidance may benefit those recently arrested after a crash or during a traffic stop.