Washington lawmakers continue their push to change our driving while license suspended laws. Legislators, civil-rights groups and others say Driving While License Suspended 3rd Degree (DWLS 3) disproportionately burdens the poor and communities of color.
Sadly, DWLS 3 is the state’s most commonly charged crime, according to a 2017 report by the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington. Since 1994, Washington State prosecutors have charged approximately 1.4 million people with DWLS 3, and have obtained a whopping 860,000 convictions for the crime. Undoubtedly this is because it doesn’t take so much as the wind to blow to actually convict someone charged with DWLS 3; a darn monkey could prove DWLS 3 the way our system is currently set up.
If SB 6189 passes, it would make DWLS 3 a traffic infraction with a $250 penalty. The penalty would be reduced to $50 if a defendant could show he or she got their license reinstated. Currently DWLS 3 is a misdemeanor and carries with it a 90 day jail sentence and a fine of $1,000; in short, those caught driving with a suspended license due to unpaid traffic tickets or because they didn’t show up for court can be jailed, pay a hefty fine and be saddled with a criminal conviction that appears on their criminal record.
Yes, DWLS 3 is the least serious of the DWLS charges. But that said, it is still currently considered a crime and can have a devastating impact on a person’s personal and professional life. It only makes sense to follow suit with a handful of other states – Oregon, Wisconsin and Maine – and decriminalize DWLS 3.
Whenever cited for a crime it is imperative to hire a qualified Seattle Criminal Defense Attorney. The Seattle Criminal Defense Attorneys that make up the criminal defense team of SQ Attorneys are highly qualified and reputable Seattle Criminal Defense Lawyers that are dedicated to providing top notch, aggressive representation for those arrested or charged for crime all across Western Washington and the Greater Puget Sound region. The team creates success by working with law enforcement and the prosecuting attorney’s office to ensure that all facts and circumstances related to the allegations are considered in creating the fairest, most equitable and just resolution possible in light of all the surrounding circumstances of the given case. So, whether you are cited with an infraction or arrested and/or charged with misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor or a felony, protect yourself … call SQ Attorneys at (206) 441-0900.