Driving with a suspended license will get you a DWLS penalty.
DWLS (driving while license suspended) penalties can be issued in one of three degrees, 1st, 2nd, or 3rd-degree offenses. Each of these comes with different penalties and consequences for future driving privileges.
While a DWLS in the 3rd-degree may not seem like a serious issue, careless driving habits or continuing to drive with a suspended license is the fastest way to see driving privileges drastically plummet.
If you have received a DWLS in any degree it’s important to make sure that you apply to have your license reinstated in order to avoid future driving charges. Remember that repeat driving offenses place drivers at risk of greater punishments and more driving restrictions.
Since there are three different degrees of DWLS offenses, each bringing their own implications, here is an explanation of what a 3rd-degree DWLS is and the possible consequences of receiving one.
What is a DWLS 3rd Degree?
The least serious of the three DWLS degrees, a DWLS in the third degree is actually the most common driving offense in Washington State.
A 3rd-degree DWLS charge happens when an individual is caught driving with a suspended license, an expired license, or one that should have been reinstated following suspension. License suspension can happen for a number of different reasons some of the most common being:
Unpaid traffic fines
Failure to have your license reinstated after suspension your suspension period is up
Unpaid child support
These are very common reasons why drivers receive DWLS 3rd-degree charges. It’s really easy to forget to reinstate a license after a suspension period and oftentimes drivers don’t mean to not pay traffic fines — it just slips their mind.
The good news is, as this is one of the most common driving-related offenses in Washington State, getting a 3rd-degree DWLS removed is easier than other driving offenses.
Penalties of a 3rd Degree DWLS in Washington State?
3rd-degree DWLS offenses are considered a simple misdemeanor with penalties ranging from a $1,000 fine to up to 90 days in jail. Most drivers charged with a 3rd-degree DWLS do not spend any time in jail but it’s worth noting that jail time is possible for this offense.
But, don’t let the fact that a 3rd-degree DWLS is the least severe of the three prevent you from seeking legal help to get your charges overturned. Getting a DWLS in any degree is serious and has the potential to affect your life and driving privileges.
Driving Unknowingly With a Suspended License
Something that has caused a lot of issues for Washington drivers is that many of them are not even aware of their license suspension at all.
License suspension notices are mailed to the address of the driver — which is often not even current (this license suspension notice is often due to unpaid traffic fines).
If the driver, unaware of the license suspension notice, continues to drive and is pulled over, they will be charged with a 3rd-degree DWLS. This mailing system for notifying drivers of license suspension leaves room for a lot of errors and has led to DWLS charges for many responsible drivers.
What to do if You are Facing DWLS 3rd Degree Charges
3rd-degree DWLS charges are the most common driving offenses in Washington State, this means that they are also often the most dismissable. With the right legal help on your side and effective action, getting DWLS charges dismissed is entirely doable.
The very first thing you should do after you’ve had your license suspended is set a reminder on your calendar to have your license reinstated after the suspension period is up. Failure to have your license reinstated will lead to additional DWLS charges in the future if you are caught driving with a suspended license when your license has passed its reinstating date.
If you are unsure what steps to take following a 3rd-degree DWLS, you should contact a defense attorney.
Work With a Defense Attorney
Here at Leyba Defense, expert attorney Matthew Leyba has worked with countless DWLS cases over the past decade. Matthew Leyba is a skilled defense attorney who has a track record of successful cases and satisfied clients to show for his work.
Matthew Leyba understands the effect that driving-related charges have on an individual’s life and is determined to help his clients receive the best possible outcome in their cases.
Contact Leyba Defense today to schedule your 60-minute initial consultation — free of charge! Matthew Leyba wants to understand your case thoroughly and how he can help you, so he offers a free consultation to all first-time clients.