Facing a driving while suspended charge can be intimidating. Most people are unaware of the fact that if you received a Driving While Suspended charge, that it is a criminal charge, and is not treated as a normal traffic infraction. A licensed driver can receive a Driving While Suspended violation for multiple reasons, and understanding the different levels of Driving While Suspended is useful when facing a criminal charge.
Driving While Suspended First Degree
If you are convicted of Driving While Suspended First Degree, it is considered a gross misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine. According to the Washington State Department of Licensing you are unable to receive a restricted license when you have a pending Driving While Suspended First Degree charge. Driving While Suspended First Degree is a habitual traffic offender (HTO) who is a licensed driver who:
has within a 5 year period has been convicted of 3 or more offenses such as DUI, reckless driving, physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicating liquor or drug, driving a motor vehicle while a license, permit or privilege to drive has been suspended or revoked, leaving the scene of an accident where the accident has resulted in injury or death of any person or damage to any vehicle, or any felony involving an automobile
has been found committed or convicted of 20 or more of moving violations according the WAC 308-104-160
Driving While Suspended Second Degree
If you are convicted of Driving While Suspended Second Degree, it is considered a gross misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine. To be charged with Driving While Suspended Second Degree your license must be suspended for hit and run attended, reckless driving, racing, eluding a pursuing police officer, DUI, vehicular assault, vehicular homicide or driving while suspended second degree. According to the Washington State Department of Licensing you may be eligible for a restricted license during the suspension.
Driving While Suspended Third Degree
Driving while suspended third degree is a misdemeanor and is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a fine of $1000. Unlike the other two driving while suspended which involves previous criminal convictions, driving while suspended third degree is related to the Washington Department of Licensing and them taking administrative actions towards your license. The Department of Licensing can suspend your license for various reasons which could include, unpaid court fines, failure to appear for a court hearing for a traffic infraction, or even if a driver is in an accident and that driver does not have insurance to cover damages that occurred to the other driver's car, the driver who is at fault for the accident is responsible for repayment of damages.
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