How to Get Your License Back After a DUI (Washington State)

If you have lost your driver’s license due to a driving under the influence (DUI) conviction, you are inevitably wondering about the process for getting it back. In most areas of Washington, being without a driver’s license can tremendously impact your life. One may take several approaches to regain the ability to drive legally, and a qualified Washington DUI attorney can advise you on your specific case. 

This is a brief overview of the process of regaining your driving privileges. Though, the best approach for you will depend on the details of your DUI charge. 

How long does your license get suspended for a DUI in Washington State?

Following a DUI conviction in Washington state, the court may penalize you with fines and a jail sentence. The Washington Department of Licensing will also hand down its own penalties. It will consider the number of DUI convictions the driver has sustained and the circumstances surrounding the recent arrest when determining what penalties should apply. 

After a DUI arrest, the driver is issued a notice of their license suspension. This could be from a minimum of 90 days to a two-year suspension. If you wish the court to review your suspension, the defendant must request a hearing seven days after the arrest. The driver’s license suspension will begin 60 days after the driving under the influence incident. 

Your Washington DUI lawyer will advise you on filling out the online request form for a hearing. Be prepared to pay the $375 fee or fill out an Application for DUI Indigent Waiver if your income is below the state’s poverty level. 

How do I get My Suspended License Back in Washington State? 

Once a DUI conviction occurs and your mandated suspension period is behind you, you are eligible to have your license reinstated. To do this, you will need to submit proof that you can pay for any damage that you may commit while driving. This certificate of financial responsibility document is called SR-22.

There are three forms of acceptable proof of responsibility. These are listed below: 

  1. SR22 insurance is a policy written by an insurance company to demonstrate to the state of Washington that you can pay for any damages you may be responsible for in a future car accident.
  2. Certificate of deposit is a certificate that demonstrates that you have at least $60,000 for the purpose of paying for any future car accident damages for which you are liable. 
  3. Liability bond is a $60,000 liability bond available from a surety or bonding company authorized to operate in Washington. It may act as proof of financial responsibility if you are responsible for future auto accidents. 

You typically must carry SR22 for three years from the date your license is reinstated. Once the certificate of financial responsibility has been submitted, you will need to pay a $75 fee to reclaim your driving privileges. There may be further costs that you may pay as well. Your DUI attorney will understand what these may be, but you are also free to contact the Washington Department of Licensing for more information. Email them at

How do You Get Around a Suspended License?

It is possible to be approved for an Occupational Restricted License (ORL). This will permit you to drive back and forth from work, school, and various other locations that are deemed necessary. This type of license will restrict you to driving within certain locations at specified times. To apply for an ORL, you must pay a fee of $100 and possible supplemental fees. 

One of these fees may be for an ignition interlock device (IID). This device requires the driver to blow into it before starting the automobile. The driver must blow a 0.025 for the vehicle to start. 

Washington State Patrol has a list of IID installers. Once yours is installed in your vehicle, the vendor will submit proof. This device must be installed in any vehicle that you drive. Though expensive, it is a small price to pay to be able to continue getting to and from work or school. 

How do I Clear My Driving Record in Washington State?

Unfortunately, once a driving under the influence conviction is on your driving record in the state of Washington, it is permanently there. There are opportunities to expunge other infractions from your record. The state wants to ensure that if a driver receives multiple DUI charges, previous convictions are evident. 

So, there is no opportunity to expunge DUIs. This is why we strongly suggest getting a successful, experienced DUI Lawyer in Washington to ensure that every effort is made to reduce the charge from a DUI, to begin with. Remaining on one’s criminal record may be one of the harshest penalties that accompany a DUI. 

A DUI can make it difficult to gain employment, secure housing, and student loans and can even interfere with child custody. Your approach to a current DUI arrest can make a tremendous difference in your future. 

Contact a Washington DUI Lawyer as Soon as Possible

If you have been arrested for a DUI, it is in your best interest to contact a DUI Attorney in King County with Veitch Ault Defense. Our team is well equipped with experience, knowledge, and integrity and is ready to advocate for you in your driving under the influence case. Our experience and successful record make us your best choice for counsel when facing the seriousness of a DUI arrest. 
With over 40 years of combined experience and the designation of “Superlawyers” bestowed on Robert Ault and Jeffrey Veitch by Thomson-Reuters Super Lawyers, we are confident in their ability to aggressively fight for you. Their numerous awards and recognitions are evidence of their abilities and the respect they have garnered in the legal community. Our compassionate approach toward our client and our tenacious approach to the battle in front of us makes us a solid choice when you are faced with a life-altering DUI arrest. Reach out today for advice and guidance if you are struggling with a DUI charge.


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For a free consultation to discuss your pending case or other legal matters, please call us any time at 425-452-1600 or complete our online contact form. Our attorneys will explain the entire process surrounding your charge and remove the fear and uncertainty regarding your arrest. Our team should be your first call if you need a top-rated, dedicated, and responsive DUI/DWI or criminal defense attorney. If success in your legal matters is your only option, we hope that you will place your trust in top-rated Washington State DUI attorney Robert Ault.  

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