Cancellation of Ignition Interlock License?

The new ignition interlock license is taking some of the sting of the lengthy license suspensions that the Department of Licensing issues upon a DUI arrest or conviction. The ignition interlock license permits an individual to drive anywhere, anytime, so long as the vehicle being driven has an ignition interlock (with certain exceptions) and proof of financial responsibility ("SR-22" insurance) on file with the Department of Licensing. However, an individual who is driving on an ignition interlock license needs to be very careful, because the DOL has the power to revoke the ignition interlock license. The ignition interlock statute, RCW 46.20.385, provides as follows: (5) The director shall cancel an ignition interlock driver's license upon receipt of notice that the holder thereof has been convicted of operating a motor vehicle in violation of its restrictions, or of a separate offense that under this chapter would warrant suspension or revocation of a regular driver's license. The cancellation is effective as of the date of the conviction, and continues with the same force and effect as any suspension or revocation under this title. Therefore, if a driver has a two-year license suspension and has successfully applied for and received an ignition interlock license, that individual may drive pursuant to the terms of the license during the entire two-year suspension. However, if the driver is subsequently convicted of an offense such as reckless driving, hit-and-run, or another "license-suspendable” offense, the ignition interlock license is canceled and the individual may not drive for any purpose for the remaining duration of the license suspension. In essence, this is a "no tolerance" provision intended to ensure that individuals who are driving during a suspension pursuant to ignition interlock licenses will be law-abiding drivers. However, this section of the ignition interlock law must be kept in mind whenever a defense lawyer undertakes to represent an individual who is currently driving on an ignition interlock license and who is charged with a subsequent offense that carries license suspension as one of the penalties.