Every year, hundreds of Washington driver’s licenses are suspended and many of these folks don’t realize that their driving privileges have been revoked until it’s too late. There are many reasons why your license may be suspended. Some are pretty obvious, while in other scenarios you may not even know your license was revoked until you get pulled over.
Getting a driver’s license suspension is not ideal, especially if you rely on your vehicle to commute to work or use it for your business. In these cases, getting your paperwork reinstated is of the utmost importance. That said, restoring your driving privileges is not always simple, especially if you’re not even sure why you were punished in the first place.
Below, we’ll tell you how to know if your driver’s license is suspended, give you tips on getting it reinstated, and go over the appeal process in case you believe the suspension was unfair.
Why is My License Suspended?
There are many different reasons for a suspended driver’s license in Washington. Some of these are clearly related to driving, while others might actually have nothing to do with your behavior behind the wheel.
Here are some of the most common reasons behind suspended driver’s licenses.
DUI Arrests and Convictions
Getting arrested and convicted for a DUI can bring a number of negative consequences, which include a suspended license. In these cases, having a seasoned attorney to help fight the charges and reduce any consequences to a minimum. That said, this will depend heavily on the gravity of the infraction, so your best bet is to avoid driving under the influence at all costs.
Also, keep in mind that suspensions due to DUIs can vary in length. In most cases, you will not be able to drive for at least a few months, but the suspension can actually last for years if the infraction was severe enough. It’s worth noting that any felonies committed in a vehicle can also lead to a license suspension, even if the car is not in motion.
Failure to Appear in Court
Failure to appear in court is another common reason for suspensions. This can occur even if the court appointment was not related to a traffic violation, so many folks don’t actually know their license is suspended until they get stopped by the authorities. Also, remember that not paying fines or outstanding tickets can also result in license suspension, so stay up to date with any pending payments you have.
Excess Loss of Driving Points
Driving points are added to your license every time you get a moving violation. The number of points you get can range between one and six depending on the infraction you committed. Longevity also plays a role as folks who started driving a long time ago may get fewer points that people who recently got their license.
Suspensions due to demerit points usually last between 3 and 5 months. People with ordinary licenses can get a suspension after picking up 12 demerit points in any 3-year period. That said, new licenses have a much lower limit, which starts at 4 points for first-year drivers and 8 points for second-year drivers.
Missed Child Support Payments
Missing child support payments can also cause a driver’s license suspension, which is another common cause for unknown suspensions. The Division of Child Support has the power to suspend all licenses issued by Washington, which includes your driving privileges.
Reckless Driving and Insurance Law Violations
If you are caught driving recklessly or violating insurance law, there’s a strong chance your license will be revoked. Make sure you get in touch with an attorney to help you manage this delicate situation and explore the alternatives you have available for a prompt reinstatement.
How Long Do License Suspensions Last?
As we mentioned before, keep in mind that suspension lengths can vary depending on the infraction and date which the license was issued. The Washington Department of Licensing or DOL can suspend your license for administrative reasons or after receiving notice of your conviction.
As a general rule of thumb, suspension times usually fall within these ranges:
- Moving violations: up to 60 days suspensions if you receive 6 moving infractions in 12 months
- DUI conviction: up to 4 years
- DUI arrest: up to 2 years
- Reckless driving: up to 30 days
- Getting Your License Reinstated
Getting Your License Reinstated
The first step to getting a suspended license reinstatement is to find out if your privileges were actually revoked. You can visit the Washington DOL website and use their online tool to check the status of your license.
Once you verify that your license has been revoked, you have three options:
- Fulfill the suspension period: Folks that have a suspended license can choose to fulfill the suspension period, pay the necessary fees, and take all the steps to get their license reinstated afterward.
- Appeal the suspension: You can also request a DOL hearing to appeal the suspension
- Apply for a restrictive license: If you need to drive through the suspension period but you don’t want to wait for the appeal, you can apply for a restrictive license that grants you temporary privileges if approved.
Having a seasoned attorney on your side can help your chances of success, so find a lawyer you can trust.
Work with a Seasoned Seattle Attorney
Dealing with a driver’s license suspension is not ideal, but the tips above should help give an idea of the choices you have and encourage you to find the best alternative. Whichever option you choose, having a reliable attorney by your side can help simplify the process and get your license reinstated faster than you think.
If you need assistance or would like to learn more about Leyba Defense, contact us today and we’ll be glad to help.