While some motorists regard driving as a basic right, the fact is that operating a motor vehicle is a privilege that must be earned and maintained by demonstrating safe and lawful driving. Under certain circumstances, an individual's Washington driver's license may be suspended or revoked for a specific length of time, depending on the person's driving record or history, and the particular violation(s).
REASONS FOR DRIVER'S LICENSE SUSPENSIONS
There are a variety of reasons why your Washington driver's license might be suspended. Some of these are related to specific driving violations, while others may be due to violation of other State laws. Following are some of the most common reasons for a Washington driver's license to be suspended or revoked.
- Driving Under the Influence. Your Washington driver's license will be suspended if you are found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The length of the suspension (between 90 days and 4 years) depends on the severity of the violation and whether it is a first or repeat offense.
- Excessive Moving Violations. If you receive too many tickets for moving traffic violations your license may be suspended or you may be placed on probation. You will be placed on probation if you receive 4 traffic tickets in a 12 month period or 5 traffic tickets in a 24 month period. If you are ticketed for 6 moving traffic violations in a 12 month period your license will be suspended.
- Driving with a Suspended License or no License. Driving with a suspended license will lead to an increase in the length of the suspension.
- Driving without Insurance. All motor vehicles driven in Washington must be properly insured. Failure to provide proof of valid auto insurance can result in your license being suspended.
- Other Driving-Related Violations. Your Washington driver's license may also be suspended if you engage in reckless driving, are found to be at fault in a fatal accident, or if you abandon your vehicle on a public highway.
- Non-Driving Reasons for License Suspension. A variety of non-driving violations or issues can result in your license being suspended. These include not responding to a DOL notice or not appearing in court, failing to pay traffic tickets, fines or surcharges and not paying child support.
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR WASHINGTON DRIVER'S LICENSE IS SUSPENDED
Having your Washington driver's license suspended is a serious matter and it is essential to adhere to State law in the event that your license is suspended. If you believe your license may be suspended due to one of the reasons listed above it is advisable to speak with a traffic ticket lawyer or a DUI-DWI lawyer.
Depending on the reasons for your license suspension, you may be eligible for an Occupational/Restricted License that will allow you to drive to and from work and other necessary appointments during the suspension period.
APPEALING A SUSPENSION
You may appeal a license suspension within 15 days of receiving the notification letter. The notification letter includes a form on which you can appeal your suspension. In addition, drivers whose license may be suspended may be eligible to enroll in a Driver Improvement Program. Completing a Driver Improvement Program can enable an individual to avoid having his license suspended.
It is also a good idea to seek the advice of a traffic ticket lawyer or a DUI-DWI lawyer, based on the reason for the suspension.
RESTORING YOUR LICENSE
When your suspension period is over, you can restore your license by paying the $75 re-issue fee and supplying a valid proof of financial responsibility (SR-22) insurance certificate. You may restore your license at a Driver Licensing Office.