My License Is Suspended
Can I Still Drive? What Happens If I Am Caught Driving While Suspended?
The answer to these questions depend on a number of things. The underlying reason for the suspension affects whether or not you can still drive while “suspended.” Washington classifies its license suspensions into three categories – “first degree”, “second degree” and “third degree”. Your degree is important in determining whether you can still drive. The suspension degree determines what could happen if a police officer arrests you for driving while suspended.
Third degree suspension
Washington’s third degree suspension is the least serious of all suspensions. Nevertheless, it is still a crime to drive a motor vehicle while you are suspended in the third degree. DWS 3 is a simple misdemeanor. A conviction carries a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. Often times, it is unpaid traffic tickets or unpaid child support holding up your license. In other situations, failure to successfully complete legal obligations can suspend your license, such as appearing at a mandatory court hearing or completing substance abuse treatment. The good news is that you are eligible to reinstate your license at any time! We can navigate you through this process.
Second degree suspension
Driving while suspended in the second degree is a gross misdemeanor. A conviction carries a maximum penalty of a year in jail and a $5,000 fine. Additionally, a conviction of this charge results in an additional license suspension and also counts as a strike against you for purposes of being a Habitual Traffic Offender (see first degree below).
A second degree suspension often results from the Department of Licensing suspending your license for refusing a breath test, submitting a breath sample above a .08 BAC, or for certain criminal convictions. A conviction for these charges results in you being suspended for a period of time, during which you cannot reinstate your license. If you are “suspended” in the second degree, it may be possible to work around this suspension and still drive. However, there are going to be some strings attached to your license before you are allowed to drive. Call us for more information.
First degree suspension
If you are suspended in the first degree, the Washington Department of Licensing has found you to be a Habitual Traffic Offender. This means that you have had at least three qualifying convictions within a 5 year period, or you have committed at least 20 moving violations during that time. If you are suspended in the first degree, then you are not allowed to drive under any circumstances for 7 years.
Washington law imposes harsh penalties for someone convicted of DWS 1. For a first conviction, a judge may not sentence you to less than 10 days of confinement. A second conviction carries a minimum of 90 days confinement. A third or subsequent conviction carries a minimum of 180 days confinement. It is important that you speak with a good attorney about how to fight these charges.
Contact Us For More Information
At Carley Legal, we understand the complexities of Washington’s ever-changing suspension laws. We pride ourselves on understanding the finer details of these laws, because the consequences of a conviction can be severe. We take the time to sit down with you, listen to your situation, go over your case together, and work towards making sure you can still drive. Come see how we can help you.