Getting a ticket in Washington State only has slight differences from any other state. You’re stopped, the officer gets out of their cruiser, and the pleading begins. Avoiding a ticket at the traffic stop is nearly impossible and you need to watch out, because if you get too frustrated, you might throw that wadded-up ticket into the back seat and forget about it.

However you come about to getting your license suspended, surprisingly, there are many levels of suspension that most people have no idea exist. This can cause a ton of problems, because once police discover you are driving on a suspended license you will find yourself calling someone to pick you up where ever you are.

Levels of a Suspended, Cancelled, or Revoked License in WA State

The Washington Department of Licensing (DOL) will suspend your driver’s license if you have been cited for a driving infraction and failed to appear in court, or if you have been cited for drug- or alcohol-related offense. The most common reason for driving privileges to be suspended is not paying the ticket.

The main reasons people don’t pay and get their license suspended are:

  • Procrastination
  • Lack of Funds
  • Stubbornness
  • Forgetfulness

Third Degree Driving While License Suspended or Revoked

So your license has been suspended and you get stopped. Not only do you phone a friend, you also get a fine. If your license is suspended or revoked solely because you have not taken the steps to have it reinstated or you didn’t appear at a hearing for the traffic infraction, you could be charged with 3rd degree driving while license suspended. This is a fine and a harsh reminder that, what was going to be a simple process is now going to be a giant expensive pain in the rear.

Second Degree Driving While License Suspended or Revoked

So you still didn’t take care of it after you were stopped the first time or the traffic stop is also accompanied by some other serious vehicle infraction. Driving while license suspended 2nd degree is considered a gross misdemeanor and is punishable by up to 1 year in jail and fines up to $5,000. In order to be charged with this offense, your license must have been originally suspended for one of the following offenses:

  • Hit and run
  • Racing
  • Theft of gasoline
  • DUI
  • Reckless driving
  • Eluding police
  • Vehicular assault/homicide
  • Negligent driving

First Degree Driving While License Suspended or Revoked

According to the DOL, if you have had 3 or more convictions for DUI, reckless driving, negligent driving, or prior driving on suspended license convictions, you may face first degree driving while license suspended or revoked.

This is considered a gross misdemeanor that comes with up to one year in jail and fines up to $5,000. There are mandatory minimum jail sentences for this first degree offense. You can find all of this at RCW 46.65.020 – Habitual Offender.

Reinstating A Suspended License In Washington State

Make sure that you have a copy of the original ticket issued to you and read the instructions written on both sides. This will give you a starting point. If you have also been issued a ticket for driving with a suspended license read that ticket fully too. The DOL will send you a letter upon request detailing your unresolved citations, including contact information for the appropriate courts so you can resolve the tickets.

You can get information in person at a Driver Services Office, by phone at (360) 902-3900, or by e-mail at You can also send a letter to:

Department of Licensing,

c/o Driver Responsibility,

P.O. Box 9030,

Olympia, WA 98507

Temporary Restricted License

For those whose driver’s license is suspended but they need to get to and from work, the Washington DOL provides an Occupational/Restricted Driver License (ORL). The temporary ORL is provided only if specific conditions are met, and it could take a week to 10 days to process your application. There is a $100 nonrefundable application fee, so make sure you meet the criteria before you apply.

If your license was suspended due to a DUI, you may be able to apply for an ignition interlock device. This depends on the circumstances of your DUI.

Washington Auto Accident Attorney

You can always order a copy of your driving record report. This report is fairly clear in spelling out whether your driver’s license is currently valid and exactly what your driving record looks like. The report will also list the points against your license and, if appropriate, information on any accidents you have had.

Phillips Law Firm represents families of victims who have been injured or died in car accidents in Washington state. We are skilled attorneys in wrongful death lawsuits and personal injury lawsuits with years of experience that they will use to assure that you get the compensation you deserve. Call today for a free consultation.