How to prepare for a hearing

Issues considered at your hearing

During your DUI hearing, our hearing examiner will consider:

  • Whether you were under lawful arrest.
  • Whether an officer had reasonable grounds to believe you had been driving or were in actual physical control of a motor vehicle in this state while:
    • Under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug.
    • Having alcohol in your system of 0.02 or more and were under the age of 21.
  • Whether you were advised of your rights and warnings as required by RCW 46.20.308(2).
  • Whether you refused to submit to the test.
    or
    If the test was administered, whether the test indicated an alcohol concentration of:
    • 0.08 or more if you were age 21 or over.
    • or
    • 0.02 or more if you were under 21.

What happens during the hearing

  1. The hearing examiner will begin the telephone hearing by advising you that all testimony will be recorded and that all testimony provided is under oath.
  2. The hearing examiner will announce the hearing, review the issues to be decided, and identify the prepared exhibits (such as a copy of the police report). You may object to the admission of evidence or testimony. If you object, the hearing examiner will decide whether to admit that evidence or testimony.
  3. The hearing examiner will swear in all the witnesses and listen to the testimony. You may testify, present evidence, cross-examine any of the state’s witnesses, and bring your own witnesses.
  4. The hearing examiner will review the evidence and make a decision about the suspension or revocation of your license. This review may take up to 6 weeks from the date of the hearing. If your license is otherwise valid, a temporary license will be extended until you receive the hearing examiner’s decision.
  5. We’ll mail a letter informing you of the hearing examiner’s decision to your address of record.

Your legal rights

  • You have the right to be represented by an attorney at your own expense, or you may represent yourself.
  • You may request that we subpoena the arresting officer or other witnesses to appear at the hearing. You should contact the hearing examiner before your hearing if you wish to have a witness subpoenaed.
  • You may question the witnesses that appear.
  • You may review the police report or other documents submitted as evidence.
  • You may present evidence, call your own witnesses, and testify on your own behalf.
  • We’ll provide an interpreter if you request one.

You must appear at your hearing even if the criminal charges have been dismissed or reduced. The suspension or revocation of your license resulting from your arrest is separate from the one resulting from a court conviction.

If you miss the deadline for requesting a hearing or fail to appear when scheduled, your driver license will be revoked or suspended even if you’ve already taken care of the related criminal charges.

Appealing a hearing decision

If you disagree with the hearing decision, you may appeal it through the superior court in the county where you were arrested.

How to file an appeal

You must file the appeal in the Superior Court in the county of your arrest within 30 days from the date the order is served. To file an appeal:

  1. Contact the Superior Court for the court’s filing fees and procedures.
  2. Pay a $40 fee to the Department of Licensing to cover the costs of preparing the administrative record. This fee cannot be waived and is non-refundable. Send the fee and the Notice of Appeal you filed in the Superior Court to:
    Hearings and Interviews Unit
    Department of Licensing
    PO Box 9048
    Olympia, WA 98507-9048

Frequently asked questions

What happens if the hearing officer decides in my favor, but the court still finds me guilty of DUI?

We’ll suspend your driver license as a result of the court conviction. A hearing decision in your favor only prevents the suspension from the arrest.

Can I request a copy of my recorded hearing?

Yes, you can request a copy for a $10.50 fee. To get a copy of your recorded hearing, send a written request that includes your full name, date of birth, and driver license number and a check or money order for the $10.50 fee (payable to the Department of Licensing) to:

Hearings and Interviews Unit
Department of Licensing
PO Box 9048
Olympia, WA 98507-9048

Related laws

Washington Healthcare Finder
Access Washington