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Driving while license suspended (DWLS) hearing

If your vehicle has been impounded as the result of a Driving While License Suspended (DWLS) arrest, the information below will assist you in understanding the procedures to get your vehicle out of impound and request a hearing.

DWLS Hearing Information

The Lakewood Municipal Code provides the opportunity for a vehicle owner to have a hearing in front of a hearing examiner. However, the type of relief that a Hearing Examiner can provide is limited by the Lakewood Municipal Code.

Hearings are restricted by the definitions of LMC 10.28.050(D). This means, if you ask for hearing, there are only two areas that you can contest (dispute).

  1. You can contest the validity of the Impound. This means you can dispute whether the officer had the right to stop your vehicle or provide proof that your license was not suspended at the time of the stop.
  2. You can contest the amount of towing and storage charges. This means you can dispute the amount of storage and towing fees by showing they were not assessed against you in a manner that is consistent with the guidelines set by the Washington State Patrol.

If the impoundment and towing charges are found to be proper, no further relief or remedy is authorized by the Lakewood Municipal Code. This means no other reason provided by you will result in the return of your vehicle or reduction in fines as shown in 10.28.060 (see below).

LMC 10.28.060 - Post-impoundment Hearing Procedure

Hearings requested pursuant to Section 10.28.050 LMC shall be held by the Police Chief or designee, as administrative hearings officer, who shall determine whether the impoundment was proper, and whether the associated towing, storage, and administrative fees were proper.

  1. At the hearing, an abstract of the driver's driving record is admissible, without further evidentiary foundation, and is prima facie evidence of the status of the driver's license, permit, or privilege to drive and that the driver was convicted of each offense shown on the abstract. In addition, police officers may testify as to whom they believe to be the legal or registered owner of the vehicle and the basis or source of the information upon which they base this belief.
  2. If the impoundment is found to be proper, the Police Chief or designee, as administrative hearings officer, shall enter an order so stating. In the event that the costs of impoundment (towing, storage, and special fees) have not been paid, or any other applicable requirements of Section 10.28.050 LMC have not been satisfied, or any period of impoundment under Section 10.28.010 LMC has not expired, the administrative hearings officer's order shall also provide that the impounded vehicle shall be released only after payment to the City of any fines imposed on any underlying traffic infraction, satisfaction of any other applicable requirements of Section 10.28.050 LMC, after payment of the costs of impoundment to the towing company, and after the expiration of any period of impoundment under Section 10.28.010 LMC.

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