Requesting and preparing for a driver hearing

Depending on the type of driving suspension, learn what you need to prepare for a hearing and how to request a hearing.

Request a driver hearing

Log in or join to request a hearing

Type of sanction How to request a hearing Hearing fee
Driving under the influence (DUI) Complete a Request for DUI Hearing form $375
Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO)

Complete an HTO Hearing Request form:

Other types of sanctions For other sanctions, please complete the form you received with your sanction letter and mail it to the address on the form. None

*This fee may be waived if you're found to be indigent and have an income below the poverty threshold.

Applying for financial assistance

If you're applying for a DUI hearing as an indigent (requesting a fee waiver), you must:

2021 poverty guidelines for Washington State
People in family/household Annual income Monthly income
1 $14,580 $1,215
2 $19,720 $1,643.33
3 $24,860 $2,071.67
4 $30,000 $2,500
5 $35,140 $2,928.33
6 $40,280 $3,356.67
7 $45,420 $3,785
8 $50,560 $4,213.33
8+   Add $5,140 annually for each additional person

If you meet the guidelines above, please complete a Ignition Interlock Device Financial Assistance Application form (available in English, Español, Русский, and more).

Preparing for your hearing

During your hearing, our hearings examiner will consider:

  • Whether you were placed under 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 being under the age of 21.
  • Whether you were advised of your implied consent warnings as required by RCW 46.20.308(2).
  • Whether you refused to submit to a breath or blood test.
  • If a test was administered, whether the test was administered by a certified operator following the methods approved by the Washington State Toxicologist.
  • If a breath or blood test was administered, whether the results indicated:
    • An alcohol content of 0.08 or more if you were age 21 or over.
    • An alcohol content of 0.02 or more if you were under 21.
    • A THC content of 5ng or more if you were age 21 or over.
    • Any amount of TCH content if you were under 21.

What happens during the hearing

  1. The call is recorded from the beginning. There is no warning that it will be recorded. You are called, advised the hearing will begin, and a recorder is immediately started. The entire conversation is recorded not just testimony.
  2. You may object to any testimony or evidence by providing a legal basis for your objection.
  3. The hearings examiner will swear in all the witnesses and listen to the testimony. They have the right to question anyone who provides testimony, including you and any witnesses.
  4. You may testify, present evidence, cross-examine any of the state's witnesses (if you request any to be present), and bring your own witnesses.
  5. The hearings examiner will review the evidence and make a decision about the sanctions. This review may take up to 30 days from the date of the hearing or the date the record closes and no more evidence can be received.
  6. We'll mail a letter informing you of the hearing examiner's decision to your address of record. The letter includes a copy of the decision and what your appeal rights are.
    • Your privilege to drive remains uninterrupted until the hearings examiner decides whether the proposed sanction is valid. When that occurs, you will get a new date and time that your license will be suspended or revoked.

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 the authority to subpoena the arresting officer or other witnesses to appear at the hearing. You should contact the hearings examiner before your hearing if you wish to have a witness subpoenaed. See instructions on how to use the Subpoena and Subpoena Proof of Service forms.
  • 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're convicted of a sanction from another entity, the sanctions will run concurrently.

If you miss the deadline to request a hearing, you may request a late hearing by filling out the form and providing good cause. If granted, depending on the timing of the request your license may not yet be impacted or impacted for a limited amount of time.

If you miss a hearing, you can request to vacate (set aside) a default order against you within 7 days of the decision issued by the hearings examiner. This must be done in writing and explain the cause for missing the hearing.

If the hearings examiner grants your request to vacate the default order against you, the hearing will be reinstated on a future date where you (the driver) will appear and essentially gets a do-over.

Appealing a hearing decision

If you disagree with the hearing decision related to a DUI or physical control charge, you must appeal it through the superior court in the county where you were arrested.

For cases that do not involve an arrest, you may appeal in the county where you reside.

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. This covers the costs of preparing the administrative record. The fee can't be waived and is non-refundable. Send the fee and the Notice of Appeal you filed in the Superior Court to:

    Administrative Law Office
    Department of Licensing
    PO Box 9048
    Olympia, WA 98507-9048

What happens if the hearings 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.

Request a copy of your recorded hearing

To get a copy of your recorded hearing complete a Public Record Request and send it to the email or mailing address listed on the form.

Related laws

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Need additional help? Here's how to contact us:

call Phone: 360-902-3900
(TTY: Call 711)
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