DMV & YOUR LICENSE
Copyright © 2010 The Cahoon Law Office - All rights reserved.
Disclaimer: The criminal driving defense information presented at this site should not be considered formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer or attorney client relationship. Any results set forth here were dependent on the facts of that case and the results will differ from case to case. Please contact a Washington State drunk driving lawyer or attorney for a free initial consultation. This web site is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the State of Washington.
My defense law firm serves the following Western Washington communities, among others: Snohomish County, King County, Skagit County, Alderwood, Arlington, Bellingham, Bothell, Brier, Camino Island, Darrington, Edgewood, Edmonds, Everett, Gold Bar, Granite Falls, Index, Lake Stevens, Lynnwood, Marysville, Mill Creek, Monroe, Mountlake Terrace, Tulalip, Mukilteo, Silvana, Smokey Point, Snohomish, Stanwood, Sultan, Woodway, Anacortes, Bow, Burlington, Clearlake, Concrete, Hamilton, La Conner, Lyman, Marbelmount, Mount Vernon, Sedro Wooley, Bellevue, Kirkland, Lake Forest Park, Mercer Island, Redmond, Seattle, Shoreline, Woodinville.
I also serve the following Zip Codes: 98011, 98012, 98020, 98021, 98026, 98033, 98034, 98036, 98037, 98043, 98046, 98052, 98072, 98082, 98087, 98201, 98203, 98204, 98205, 98206, 98207, 98208, 98213, 98223, 98241, 98251, 98252, 98256, 98258, 98259, 98270, 98271, 98272, 98273, 98274, 98275, 98287, 98290, 98291, 98292, 98293, 98294, 98296
Experienced and Aggressive Criminal Defense
Most of the people I see with DWLS 2nd charges lost their licenses due to earlier criminal matters, like DUI. During the suspension period, they drove and got caught. Some of them did not even know their license was suspended.
In some ways, DWLS 2 is the hardest of the three suspension levels. There is no restricted or temporary license available and if you are caught driving during this suspension, the Department of Licensing will add another 12 months onto your existing suspension.
What can I do?
The first thing to do is stop driving. For many people, this is the hardest part. We all need to go to work, do grocery shopping, etc but right now you need to concentrate on not getting into more trouble.
Next, plead Not Guilty at your Arraignment. Even if you were caught red handed, not NOT plead guilty. There are two ways to approach a DWLS 2nd charge, either fight the crime itself or minimize the impact.
Fighting the Crime Itself
In order for the Prosecutor to establish their case, they only need to prove three things: 1. The Defendant drove a motor vehicle. 2. In the State of Washington. and 3. On the day in question, the Defendant was suspended in the second degree.
Inherent within these elements are two more requirements: First, was the Defendant stopped by law enforcement legally? Second, did the Department of Licensing comply with the requirements of Due Process when it sent notice to the Defendant of his or her license suspension?
The first three items are factual questions. If the Prosecutor cannot prove those facts in Court, then the case will either get dismissed or the Defendant will be acquitted at trial. The last two items are legal questions. Sit down and talk to a lawyer about the facts of what happened. If there was a problem with the Probable Cause for the stop or a Due Process violation, your lawyer will find it. These types of problems can be fatal to the Prosecutor s criminal case because the remedy for a violation like these is suppression of the evidence - which means the Defendant wins.
If a Defendant is simply guilty of the charge then we start looking for ways to less the severity of the punishment. There are two main areas to look out for: jail time and license loss.
When it comes to the amount of jail someone gets, the Judges and Prosecutors always look at the same two issues: What is the current charge for and what is the Defendant s past like. Obviously, Defendants with a history of criminal convictions will get punished harder than a first time offender - for the same crime. In the case of DWLS 2, it is a gross misdemeanor, meaning you can get up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine. In the case of a first time offender, there may not be any jail time imposed or you may be allowed to do alternatives to jail such as Electronic Home Monitoring or Work Crew/Work Release.
If you are convicted of DWLS 2, the Department of licensing will suspend your license for another 12 months.
The way to handle this type of a charge is to get re-licensed. Once you have your license back, all sorts of possibilities open up. We may be able to get the Prosecutor to amend the charge to a less serious one, such as DWLS 3rd. IF they are unwilling to amend the charge downward, we may still get the Court to recommend to DOL that no re-suspension occurs, thus avoiding the additional 12 months you would otherwise get. Even in cases where the Prosecutor was asking for significant amounts of jail time, being re-licensed typically results in drastically reduced sentences.
For example, suppose someone was stopped for DUI and lost their administrative hearing. They would lose their license for 90 days (on a first offense). If they got caught driving during that 90 days, then they would be facing a DWLS 2 charge. In this case, we would try to delay the until after the 90 days has run. The Defendant would get his or her license back then we would talk with the Prosecutor about amending the charge to a less serious one. Even if the Prosecutor was unwilling to reduce the charge, we could still ask the Judge to recommend no re-suspension to the Department of Licensing. When it comes time for sentencing, the penalty imposed will typically be substantially less than what it would have been if the Defendant was still suspended.
Can I contest or appeal the revocation with DOL?
Yes, you may request an administrative review within 15 days from the date on your suspension letter. The suspension letter we send to you includes a form to request a review of the suspension.
How can I get my license back?
When you are eligible to reinstate your driver license, you must:
File future proof of financial responsibility, also known as an SR-22, for 3 years from the date you are eligible to reinstate your driver license for that incident.
In addition to any other licensing fees, pay a $75 reissue fee the next time you apply for a Washington driver license.
DRIVING WHILE LICENSE
SUSPENDED 2nd DEGREE
The Cahoon Law Office
3405 - 172nd Street NE, #5-242
Arlington, WA 98223
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122 East 5th Street
Arlington, WA 98223
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