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Driving While License Suspended

Driving on a Suspended License (DWLS) Defense in Washington

Driving on a suspended license (DWLS) in Washington is the most charged criminal traffic offense in the state. That is likely because of the countless number of ways an individual can have his license suspended and the difficulties involved with getting the license out of suspension. The crime of DWLS falls in to three categories or “degrees”. Each has its own peculiarities and level of severity.

Regardless of the degree charged the goals remains the same. We will help you avoid the conviction for the criminal charge but perhaps more importantly assist in getting the drivers license restored.

What Are the Penalties For DWLS in Washington?


This is the most common criminal offense in the state of Washington. DWLS in the 3rd Degree is simply driving on a suspended license at a time when the person was eligible to have the license reinstated. The most common examples of this are when a person’s license is suspended due to an unpaid traffic ticket, unpaid child support or not getting reinstated after a period of suspension. This probably is the most beatable charge in the Washington. Judges and prosecutors are primarily concerned with citizens being licensed and insured before they drive. Assuming the driver’s criminal history is not significant and she gets her license reinstated, this charge will usually be reduced to an infraction if not dismissed completely.

We’ve helped countless people not only beat this charge, but get their driving privileges back as well.

License Suspended 2nd Degree

DWLS 2nd is much more serious than DWLS 3rd. It is a gross misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of 364 days in jail and a $5000 fine. A conviction for DWLS 2nd does carry an additional year license suspension beyond the Washington license suspension you are already serving. The only way to avoid the suspension is to 1) have your license back at the time of the sentencing and 2) the judge recommends against re-suspension. If your license is suspended because of a DUI, reckless driving, hit and run, or felony driving crimes, then your license is suspended in the 2nd degree. In certain cases, you may be eligible for a restricted license that will allow you to drive during your Washington license suspension.

This is a charge that is very beatable if you do the right things. Contact one of our Washington DWLS lawyers for a free consultation and to talk about your specific situation

License Suspended 1st Degree

This is the most severe DWLS charge in the State of Washington. A person who has been charged with DWLS 1 is being accused of driving after her license was suspended for being an Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO). It s a gross misdemeanor meaning it is punishable by up to one (1) year in jail and a $5,000.00 fine. What separates first degree DWLS from the other two is that it carries a mandatory jail sentence. For a first conviction one must serve 10 days in jail. On a second conviction, the mandatory sentence is 90 days. On a third or subsequent conviction for DWLS in the first degree, the jail sentence would be 180 days. These mandatory minimum jail sentences make DWLS 1 a more serious charge than DUI.

Feel free to consult Michael Harbeson a Washington DWLS lawyer to find out more.

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