Washington lawmakers are perpetually trying to toughen penalties on residents who are convicted of DUI. But how many DUI convictions does it take for a Washington driver to have his or her driver's license revoked permanently?
Usually, drivers convicted of DUI (or refusing a breath test) can have their license suspended for a period of time. A first conviction results in a minimum license suspension for 90 days, and this suspension could last for as long as a year. A second DUI earns you a two-year suspension, while the third and any subsequent offense calls for a three- to four-year license suspension.
People with suspended licenses have to go through an administrative process to get their driving privileges reinstated. And it is possible to apply for an Ignition Interlock Restricted License so you have some access to your vehicle.
There has been a lot of talk of trying to making a fourth DUI offense in Washington a felony. Currently, this occurs on the fifth conviction. But no matter where the felony cutoff is drawn, there is no provision in Washington law which calls for the permanent revocation of a driver's license based solely on multiple DUIs.
The only way that a person can have his or her license permanently revoked is not predicated on impairment: it's only after they are classified as a "habitual traffic offender." This designation is for a period of seven years maximum and for drivers who:
- Amass 20 moving violations in five years, with four of them occurring within a 365-day period, or
- Be convicted of three "major moving violations" within five years if all of those violations require mandatory license suspension or revocation
So obviously, if you get three DUIs within five years, then it is possible to incur a longtime driving ban in Washington. But if those three offenses come over a period longer than five years, then the license revocation statute does not apply.
It's always recommended that you engage the services of an experienced DUI defense attorney if you are arrested for DUI in Washington. Kevin Trombold is an experienced Washington DUI attorney who handles habitual License suspension cases. Call for a free consultation 206-971-0067.