DUI Defense

The Department of Licensing DUI Hearing

After an arrest for DUI, you have the right to request a formal hearing to contest the suspension or revocation of your driving privilege.

Your request must be postmarked within 20 days of the date of arrest, or within 20 days of the date the notice was given. If your request is not made within this time frame, you will have waived your right to a hearing.


During your DUI hearing, a 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.


    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.

A DUI hearing will be held 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.

What happens during the hearing

  1. The hearing examiner will begin the telephone hearing by advising 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). Objections may be made to the admission of evidence or testimony. If an objection is made, 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. The driver may testify, present evidence, cross-examine any of the state’s witnesses, and bring own witnesses to testify.
  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. The hearing examiner will mail a letter informing you of the hearing examiner’s decision to your address of record.

Your legal rights

  • The right to be represented by an attorney.
  • The right to subpoena the arresting officer or other witnesses to appear at the hearing.
  • The right to question the witnesses that appear.
  • The right to review the police report or other documents submitted as evidence.
  • The right to present evidence, call your witnesses, and testify on your own behalf.

Appealing a hearing decision

If you disagree with the hearing decision, it can be appealed through the superior court in the county where you were arrested.

Any appeal must be filed in the Superior Court in the county of your arrest within 30 days from the date the order is served.

Disclaimer and Conditions of Use:

The Angus Lee Law Firm, PLLC, provides this information to assist trial lawyers and judges. This should not be confused with legal advice. While we seek to have this site be accurate, up to date, and complete, the Angus Lee Law Firm, PLLC, does not warrant that the information is complete, up to date, or accurate. The Angus Lee Law Firm, PLLC, disclaims all liability to any person for any loss caused by errors or omissions in this collection of information.