If you, or someone you know, has been charged with Washington state driving with license suspended, the government must prove the elements required under the Washington state criminal statute of the offense.
A conviction may only be gained if the person accused enters a plea of guilty, or is found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt after a trial.
Washington State driving on a suspended license may be committed in different ways, all of which are misdemeanors or gross-misdemeanors.
Driving while license suspended (DWLS 1 & DWLS 2)
Driving while license suspended in the first degree (DWLS 1) is the most serious, and driving with license suspended third degree (DWLS 3) is the least serious charge. Both DWLS 1 and DWLS 2 carry mandatory additional license suspensions if convicted. DWLS 1 carries mandatory jail sentences of 10 days for the first conviction, 90 days for the second conviction and 180 days for the third conviction. If you have any questions about the elements of the Washington State driving on a suspended license statutes, please feel free to contact us for a free consultation.
Revised Code of Washington Statutes
Below is the Revised Code of Washington Statutes (what the Washington State government most prove beyond a reasonable doubt to convict you of this crime):
RCW 46.20.342Driving while license invalidated — Penalties — Extension of invalidation.
(1) It is unlawful for any person to drive a motor vehicle in this state while that person is in a suspended or revoked status or when his or her privilege to drive is suspended or revoked in this or any other state. Any person who has a valid Washington driver's license is not guilty of a violation of this section.
(a) A person found to be an habitual offender under chapter 46.65 RCW, who violates this section while an order of revocation issued under chapter 46.65 RCW prohibiting such operation is in effect, is guilty of driving while license suspended or revoked in the first degree, a gross misdemeanor. Upon the first such conviction, the person shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than ten days. Upon the second conviction, the person shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than ninety days. Upon the third or subsequent conviction, the person shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one hundred eighty days. If the person is also convicted of the offense defined in RCW 46.61.502 or 46.61.504, when both convictions arise from the same event, the minimum sentence of confinement shall be not less than ninety days. The minimum sentence of confinement required shall not be suspended or deferred. A conviction under this subsection does not prevent a person from petitioning for reinstatement as provided by RCW 46.65.080.
(b) A person who violates this section while an order of suspension or revocation prohibiting such operation is in effect and while the person is not eligible to reinstate his or her driver's license or driving privilege, other than for a suspension for the reasons described in (c) of this subsection, is guilty of driving while license suspended or revoked in the second degree, a gross misdemeanor. This subsection applies when a person's driver's license or driving privilege has been suspended or revoked by reason of:
(i) A conviction of a felony in the commission of which a motor vehicle was used;
(ii) A previous conviction under this section;
(iii) A notice received by the department from a court or diversion unit as provided by RCW 46.20.265, relating to a minor who has committed, or who has entered a diversion unit concerning an offense relating to alcohol, legend drugs, controlled substances, or imitation controlled substances;
(iv) A conviction of RCW 46.20.410, relating to the violation of restrictions of an occupational driver's license, a temporary restricted driver's license, or an ignition interlock driver's license;
(v) A conviction of RCW 46.20.345, relating to the operation of a motor vehicle with a suspended or revoked license;
(vi) A conviction of RCW 46.52.020, relating to duty in case of injury to or death of a person or damage to an attended vehicle;
(vii) A conviction of RCW 46.61.024, relating to attempting to elude pursuing police vehicles;
(viii) A conviction of RCW 46.61.500, relating to reckless driving;
(ix) A conviction of RCW 46.61.502 or 46.61.504, relating to a person under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs; (x) A conviction of RCW 46.61.520, relating to vehicular homicide; (xi) A conviction of RCW 46.61.522, relating to vehicular assault;
(xii) A conviction of RCW 46.61.527(4), relating to reckless endangerment of roadway workers;
(xiii) A conviction of RCW 46.61.530, relating to racing of vehicles on highways;
(xiv) A conviction of RCW 46.61.685, relating to leaving children in an unattended vehicle with motor running;
(xv) A conviction of RCW 46.61.740, relating to theft of motor vehicle fuel;
(xvi) A conviction of RCW 46.64.048, relating to attempting, aiding, abetting, coercing, and committing crimes;
(xvii) An administrative action taken by the department under chapter 46.20 RCW; or
(xviii) A conviction of a local law, ordinance, regulation, or resolution of a political subdivision of this state, the federal government, or any other state, of an offense substantially similar to a violation included in this subsection.
(c) A person who violates this section when his or her driver's license or driving privilege is, at the time of the violation, suspended or revoked solely because (i) the person must furnish proof of satisfactory progress in a required alcoholism or drug treatment program, (ii) the person must furnish proof of financial responsibility for the future as provided by chapter 46.29 RCW, (iii) the person has failed to comply with the provisions of chapter 46.29 RCW relating to uninsured accidents, (iv) the person has failed to respond to a notice of traffic infraction, failed to appear at a requested hearing, violated a written promise to appear in court, or has failed to comply with the terms of a notice of traffic infraction or citation, as provided in RCW 46.20.289, (v) the person has committed an offense in another state that, if committed in this state, would not be grounds for the suspension or revocation of the person's driver's license, (vi) the person has been suspended or revoked by reason of one or more of the items listed in (b) of this subsection, but was eligible to reinstate his or her driver's license or driving privilege at the time of the violation, or (vii) the person has received traffic citations or notices of traffic infraction that have resulted in a suspension under RCW 46.20.267 relating to intermediate drivers' licenses, or any combination of (i) through (vii), is guilty of driving while license suspended or revoked in the third degree, a misdemeanor.
(2) Upon receiving a record of conviction of any person or upon receiving an order by any juvenile court or any duly authorized court officer of the conviction of any juvenile under this section, the department shall:
(a) For a conviction of driving while suspended or revoked in the first degree, as provided by subsection (1)(a) of this section, extend the period of administrative revocation imposed under chapter 46.65 RCW for an additional period of one year from and after the date the person would otherwise have been entitled to apply for a new license or have his or her driving privilege restored; or
(b) For a conviction of driving while suspended or revoked in the second degree, as provided by subsection (1)(b) of this section, not issue a new license or restore the driving privilege for an additional period of one year from and after the date the person would otherwise have been entitled to apply for a new license or have his or her driving privilege restored; or
(c) Not extend the period of suspension or revocation if the conviction was under subsection (1)(c) of this section. If the conviction was under subsection (1)(a) or (b) of this section and the court recommends against the extension and the convicted person has obtained a valid driver's license, the period of suspension or revocation shall not be extended.