Ignition Interlock

What you need to know

Applying for an Ignition Interlock License

  • An Ignition Interlock Device is a piece of equipment connected to your vehicle’s ignition that will require you to provide a breath sample before you can start your vehicle, and will require you to provide breath samples at random times while you are driving the vehicle.
  • If your license is suspended or revoked because you did not prevail at your DOL hearing (or if you never requested a hearing), installing an Ignition Interlock Device in your vehicle and applying for an Ignition Interlock driver’s license will allow you to continue to drive your personal vehicle so long as you meet the following requirements:
  • Your license has been or will be suspended or revoked for a DUI or certain other related arrests;
  • You are not suspended or revoked for any other reason, such as being a habitual traffic offender or for child-support non-compliance.
  • An Ignition Interlock License (IIL) will not, however, enable you to drive a commercial vehicle.
  • You can apply for an Ignition Interlock driver’s license at any time, even right after you receive notice of the DOL’s intent to suspend or revoke your license.
  • The costs of applying for and maintaining an IIL (including high-risk insurance (SR22) for three years) can really add up, so it is usually best to postpone the possibility of applying for an IIL and hire an experienced attorney to represent you at your DOL hearing.
  • If you do not win the hearing, you can still apply for an IIL at that point.

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How to qualify for the IIL

The Ignition Interlock License or (IIL) is available for most people who have lost or will lose their license or privilege to drive in WA due to a DOL administrative suspension or revocation based on an arrest. It is also available for most people who will lose their license or privilege to drive in WA due to a court conviction.

Administrative Suspension or Revocation: The following persons may apply for an IIL:

  • Any person licensed to drive in WA, or who has a valid driver’s license from another state who:

  • The department, upon receipt of the prescribed fee and upon determining that the petitioner is eligible to receive the license, may issue an ignition interlock driver’s license.

  • A person who does not have a WA driver’s license, but who would otherwise be eligible to apply for an ignition interlock license, may submit to the department an application for an ignition interlock license. The department may require the person to take any driver’s licensing examination and meet certain other requirements.

    Conviction-Related Suspension or Revocation: The following persons may also apply:

  • Any person licensed to drive in WA, or who has a valid driver’s license from another state who has been convicted in court of:

    • A violation of RCW 46.61.502 (DUI) or

    • CW 46.61.504 (Physical Control) or

    • an equivalent local or out-of-state statute or ordinance, or

  • Any person who is licensed to drive in WA, who is convicted of RCW 46.61.500

    (Reckless Driving) when the charge was originally filed as a violation of RCW 46.61.502

    (DUI) or RCW 46.61.504 (Physical Control), or an equivalent local ordinance.

  • Any person who does not have a WA driver’s license, but who would otherwise be

    eligible under this section to apply for an ignition interlock license may submit to the department an application for an ignition interlock license. The department may require the person to take any driver’s licensing examination and meet certain other requirements.

    However, you will not be eligible if your current suspension or revocation is also due to a violation of Minor in Possession, or you are a Habitual Traffic Offender.

Employer Exemption

While driving with an IIL, you must maintain an interlock device on all vehicles you drive, except employer-owned or maintained vehicles that you drive during work, and not solely to and from work and home. 

To obtain the exemption, your employer must sign the “Employer Declaration for Ignition Interlock Exemption” Form (or search title online). To be eligible for an employer exemption, you must have an IID installed in your personal vehicle and submit the above-linked declaration to DOL as well as keep a copy of the signed employer declaration with your IIL.

You cannot drive a commercial motor vehicle with an IIL; no exemption applies for driving those vehicles.

how to apply for an ignition interlock license
Start by installing an Ignition Interlock Device
Linda M. Callahan

HOW TO APPLY FOR AN IIL

  • Install an ignition interlock device in every vehicle you will be driving. Obtain written proof of installation from the vendor.

  • Get proof of financial responsibility, such as a Certificate of Insurance (SR-22) from an insurance agent.

  • Complete the “Restricted Driver License Application” (or search title online) and submit it to DOL with a check or money order for the IIL Application Fee ($100): in person at any driver licensing office, OR

    • by mail to:

Restricted License Department of Licensing PO Box 3907
Seattle, WA 98124-3907

    • Online by signing up with License eXpress on the DOL’s website.

 

It may take two weeks or longer to receive your IIL; typically they are received the day the suspension or revocation is to begin, so long as the application was received early enough to be processed in that time frame. Please consider this in determining if and when you should apply for an IIL. If you don’t allow enough time for DOL to process the request before your license is suspended/revoked, you will not be permitted to drive AT ALL.

If you drive without the IIL after your license suspension/revocation has taken effect, you may be charged with the crime of Driving While License Suspended or Revoked, resulting in significant incarceration or bail for the current offense if you’ve violated the court’s conditions of release, an additional criminal conviction, as well as an additional year of license revocation added to the current suspension or revocation.

FEES AND COSTS

You are responsible for paying all the IIL fees and interlock device costs, including:

  • the cost of installing, leasing, and removing an ignition interlock device.

  • the cost of maintaining proof of financial responsibility – SR-22 insurance

  • the IIL application fee (non-refundable) — $100.00

very important facts

  • DOL states that they can’t issue the IIL until your suspension or revocation begins. You may request that the IIL be emailed to you. It takes DOL up to two weeks to process the IIL once all requirements listed above are met AND your suspension or revocation has begun.

  • Once your suspension or revocation has begun, until you receive the IIL from DOL (whether by mail or email), you are NOT a valid licensed driver. Driving without a valid license is a crime and puts you at risk of being arrested and/or cited for driving while license suspended. If you are currently under court release conditions then driving without a valid license is a violation of those conditions.

  • After the period of suspension or revocation is over you must reinstate your license because the IIL will be expired.

Please use this link to determine what you need to do in order to reinstate your license, https://www.dol.wa.gov/licenseexpress.html

Here is a link to the DOL’s website for your reference – https://www.dol.wa.gov/.

Reinstating your license after suspension

At the end of your license suspension or revocation period, you must reinstate your license in order to have the privilege to drive again. Until your license is reinstated, you face potential criminal liability for driving; adding at least an additional year onto your current suspension or revocation. Even if the period of your suspension or revocation is over, you can still be arrested and charged for driving while license suspended or revoked 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. You can find a Record Request form here. To reinstate your license, you will be required to submit proof that you have high-risk (SR22) insurance. This requirement is ongoing for the next three years after you became eligible to reinstate your license. You will also need to pay the standard licensing fees as well as a reinstatement fee.

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Disclaimer: The legal information presented on this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice, nor the formation of a lawyer or attorney client relationship. Any results set forth herein are based upon the facts of that particular case and do not represent a promise or guarantee.  This web site is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the state of Washington.

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