There is a time period that the state has to file. The Prosecutor's Office has up to two years to bring charges from the date of commission. "No gross misdemeanor may be prosecuted more than two years after its commission."
Just adding to Mr. Pelley's response, your wife should be certain not to drive once her suspension goes into effect, unless she gets something like an occupational permit or an ignition interlock license. If one is caught driving on a license suspended/revoked due to a breathalizer refusal, one could get charged with a DWLS-2, also a gross misdemeanor.
This most certainly does not mean she will not be charged with DUI, in fact, there is a great chance she eventually will be charged.
Criminally, the State or City has up to two years from the date of violation to file the charges, thereby triggering a summons and complaint. However, the department of licensing will suspend the individual's license (in this instance for one year) 60 days from the date of the arrest. If a hearing is requested within the alloted time from arrest (20 days as of Jan. 1, 2009) then the license will be suspended only if the hearing result is unfavorable.
The hole in the license does not invalidate the license, it merely puts the license on temporary status until the either the hearing result is rendered or until 60 days after the arrest in the case in which a hearing was not requested. In Washington, there is a criminal matter and an administrative matter to address when charged with a DUI. Your wife should speak with a qualified DUI attorney right away.
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