DWLS Charges in Washington State
What Is DWLIS in the 3rd Degree?
Driving While License Suspended in the 3rd Degree is charged when someone is caught driving with a suspended license, but their license is eligible to be reinstated. This is different from driving while license suspended in the 2nd degree and 1st degree where a person is not eligible to reinstate their license. Third degree suspensions most commonly happen when someone has unpaid court costs or has missed a court hearing. There are a number of other, less common, reasons for a third degree suspension as well. The Department of Licensing (DOL) will mail out a notice of suspension which can be lifted once the underlying cause is cleared up. There was a 2021 Washington Court ruling that invalidated some suspensions for failure to pay or appear on traffic infraction cases so you should discuss your particular suspension details with your attorney.
The crime of Driving While License Suspended in the 3rd degree is a misdemeanor and carries a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
DWLS 2 Charges
Driving While License Suspended in the 2nd Degree can be charged when someone is caught driving with a suspended license at a time when the license is not eligible to be reinstated. This could occur if someone has a mandatory license suspension related to a criminal traffic charge, such as a DUI.
This crime is a gross misdemeanor and has a maximum penalty of 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine. A conviction for DWLS2 also carries its own 1-year license suspension.
Is DWLS 1 a Gross Misdemeanor in Washington State?
Driving While License Suspended in the 1st Degree is charged when someone who is considered a habitual traffic offender is caught driving with a suspended license that is not eligible to be reinstated. DOL will classify persons as habitual traffic offenders if they have 3 convictions for certain driving crimes in 5 years or if they have committed findings for 20 or more traffic infractions in 5 years.
This crime is a gross misdemeanor and has a maximum penalty of 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine. However, if a person is convicted of this crime, there are mandatory minimum penalties as follows:
- For a first-time conviction of this crime, a minimum sentence of 10-days imprisonment must be imposed and cannot be suspended or deferred.
- For a second conviction of this crime, a minimum sentence of 90-days imprisonment must be imposed and cannot be suspended or deferred.
- For a third or subsequent conviction of this crime, a minimum sentence of 180-days imprisonment must be imposed and cannot be suspended or deferred.
- A person who is convicted of this crime for the first time, but also has been convicted of an alcohol or drug-related crime arising from the same event, could face a minimum 90-day jail sentence that cannot be suspended or deferred.
Contact an Attorney to Represent You
If you have been arrested or charged with Driving While License Suspended, there is still hope. You and your attorney can do things to try to navigate this situation. To learn more, give our office a call at (425) 224-7075. We will listen to you, answer your questions, ease your stress, and resolve your case.
Owner and principal attorney Lance Fryrear of The Law Offices of Lance Fryrear has defended the accused in Lynnwood and throughout Washington for the past 20 years. We will do everything we can to help and support you through this process.
Contact us today to learn more!