Driver's License Suspension for Financial Responsibility
Why is DOL threatening to suspend my license?
If a vehicle that is involved in a collision in Washington involving damages of at least $700 for which the driver or the owner may be liable is discovered to be uninsured, the driver AND registered owner of the vehicle face license suspension.
How long will the suspension last?
The license suspension for financial responsibility can last for up to three years.
How can I avoid the suspension?
To avoid the suspension, if you were in fact uninsured, you must either post a bond ($25,000 bodily injury or death of one person, $50,000 bodily injury or death of two or more persons, and $10,000 property damage) and show current financial responsibility (such as SR22), get a signed settlement or a release from everyone involved in the collision that they will not seek judgment from you, get a court ruling that you are not liable for any of the claims, or request an interview or document review with DOL within the 15 day time limit and convince DOL at the interview that your license should not be suspended.
After the interview, may I request a hearing?
Yes, you have 20 days from the date of the suspension letter to request a hearing. The other party will also receive notice of the hearing and may attend or submit a statement or evidence.
What are the issues at the hearing?
· Whether you were the driver or the owner of the vehicle
· Whether there were more than $700 in damages
· Whether any exceptions apply in your case
· Whether there is a reasonable possibility that judgment could be entered against you
· Whether you have deposited enough security to satisfy a judgment that could be entered against you
What will happen at the hearing?
The other party will be notified and may attend. After going over the issues in the case, the hearing officer will admit “exhibits" into the record, which will allow the hearing officer to consider those items in his or her final decision. You or your lawyer will have an opportunity to object to the admission of the evidence. The other party and their lawyer may also object. You or your lawyer, or the other party or their lawyer, may also introduce exhibits into evidence. Any witnesses who have been subpoenaed will be sworn in and all parties will be able to question them. After witnesses testify, you can introduce evidence to rebut, or disprove, what they said. You also have the right to testify on your own behalf. You should never decide to testify without the advice of an experienced lawyer because your testimony might hurt your case or another case that may also take place in court. Or, something you say may be taken out of context and used against you. Finally, you may make legal arguments at the hearing and you can submit written legal briefs.
What will happen after the hearing?
After the hearing, the hearing officer prepares a written decision called a “final order" that makes a decision about all of the issues in your case. Once you receive the final order, you have 30 days to appeal the case to the superior court in the county where you live if DOL did not dismiss your case.
How do I get my license back after the suspension period is over?
At the end of your license suspension, you must reinstate your license in order to be able to drive again. Until your license is reinstated, you face potential criminal liability for driving, and adding at least an additional year onto your current suspension. Even if the period of your suspension is over, you can still be arrested and charged for driving while license suspended if you have not reinstated your license. If you are unsure of the current status of your driving license or about what incident(s) have been reported on your driving record, you can request a copy of the record from DOL. If you were in fact uninsured, you must either post a bond ($25,000 bodily injury or death of one person, $50,000 bodily injury or death of two or more persons, and $10,000 property damage) and show current financial responsibility (such as SR22), get a signed settlement or a release from everyone involved in the collision that they will not seek judgment from you, or get a court ruling that you are not liable for any of the claims.