Defense Lawyer for Driving While License Suspended/Driving Without a Valid Operator’s License

We are experienced Traffic Ticket Lawyers who represent clients with criminal traffic  charges in the greater Puget Sound area. We provide aggressive legal representation in court, act as your agent in negotiating alternative outcomes to contested hearings, and provide advice and counsel to our clients in the best methods to minimize the potential impact of a traffic violation given your specific circumstances.  For a free consultation call 206-816-9110, or fill out the form below for a callback.

For a person to drive on a roadway in the state of Washington the person must be legally licensed to do so.  A person may be charged with Traffic Infractions such as No Valid Operators License on Person if they are legally licensed but do not have the license with them, that is a Traffic Infraction.  Driving with No Valid License, a Suspended License, or a Revoked license are all criminal charges of varying severity, punishable by fines and/or jailtime.

Driving Without a Valid Operator’s License

Under RCW 46.20.005, driving without a valid operator’s license is if a person drives any motor vehicle on a highway in Washington State without a valid driver’s license issued to Washington residents or a valid license from another state. Unlike a No License on Person charge, which is driving without carrying your license with you, this is a criminal offense that will be on your court record.

Driving without a valid license is considered a misdemeanor, which RCW 9A.20.021 defines as punishable by up to ninety days in jail, a maximum fine of $1,000, or both. The court finding a conviction can have probationary jurisdiction over you for a period of two years during which you must maintain law-abiding behavior, otherwise you may be required to return to court.

Driving While License Suspended in the Third Degree

Under RCW 46.20.342(1)(c), a person is guilty of driving while license suspended in the third degree if they drive a motor vehicle in Washington State while in a suspended or revoked status or when his privilege to drive is suspended or revoked in this or any other state, BUT ONLY IF such was suspended or revoked as a result of the following:

  1. They have 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, including the paying of fines.
  2. They failed to reinstate their license or privilege after the statutory term of a suspension or revocation has expired.

Penalties for Driving While License Suspended or Revoked in the Third Degree in Washington: DWLS3 is considered a misdemeanor, which RCW 9A.20.021 defines as punishable by up to ninety days in jail, a maximum fine of $1,000, or both.

Defending a Driver’s License Offense

We consider the reason the police officer stopped the person in the first place to determine whether we can challenge the legal basis for the stop of the vehicle. If the stop was based on a driving infraction, it may be possible to argue that the officer didn’t have a legal basis for the charge.

As with infractions, we can challenge any “due process” violations. Whenever the state has the obligation to provide notice and an opportunity to be heard. In the case of driver’s license offenses, when the Department of Licensing moves to suspend your license they are required by law to provide notice, which usually involves sending a letter to your residence or your last known address of record. The letter should notify you that the suspension will take place, the specified date it will begin and provide you with information about how you can request a hearing to contest the suspension.

We may set the case for trial to see if the city or the prosecutor is able to establish the charges in front of a jury. Witnesses may not be present to testify. In court, the arresting officer needs to describe the the arrest. If the testimony doesn’t match the arrest record, we have a strong grounds for challenging the legal basis for the traffic stop. The officer may forget critical information or the prosecutor may not ask the right questions.

If the case seems solid, then an attorney may be able to negotiate an agreement with the Prosecutor that will reduce the impact on a defendant. A skilled criminal defense attorney throughout this process is strongly advised to both build a defense and to assess its strength; to act as advisor as well as advocate.

How Can We Help?

If you would like to know more about your Washington Traffic Ticket and what we might be able to do for you, please call us at 206-916-9110.  A Consultation is free.

You may also contact us for a free consultation callback regarding how we may be able to help using the following form:

You should receive a call within a few hours, as we may be in court.   After business hours submissions will be returned the following day.



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    Use of this Submission Form or the Consultation are confidential, but does not create an attorney-client relationship.