3 Ways To Get Suspended – Administrative, Criminal & Traffic Infractions

In Washington, your privilege to drive can be suspended in numerous ways. Depending on the triggering event for the suspension, your (or your attorney’s) response will vary. In some cases, the driver can take care of a few issues and be reinstated almost immediately. In other cases, the foundation for the suspension can be tricky to determine and, hence, problematic to find a solution. When a driver has an out of state license but is living in Washington, this adds an additional layer of complexity.

Administrative Suspension

The timing of your administrative license suspension will vary depending on the crime and whether you filed a hearing request to contest the DOL suspension. However, generally speaking, thirty days after your arrest or following a conviction / alternative resolutions of certain crimes (DUI, Physical Control, Hit & Run Attended, Reckless Driving and a few others, including several felony driving offenses), the Department of Licensing will suspend your privilege to drive.

Example Of Crimes That Can Lead To License Suspension / Revocation


Hit & Run

Physical Control

Reckless Driving


Habitual Traffic Offender 

Two of the above crimes can lead to an immediate (30 days post-arrest) administrative suspension as well as an additional suspension after the case resolves. You must speak to an experienced DUI criminal defense attorney to know how the facts of your case will impact your privilege to drive.

Out Of State Suspensions

If you were suspended due to a criminal case in another state, Washington’s Department of Licensing will give full faith and credit to any out of state court order. So, if you ignored a DUI case in Ohio and moved to Washington, it is likely that you have a warrant and a license suspension in Ohio. The licensing departments of every state “talk” to each other and honor each state’s suspension determinations. 

If there is no reason for Washington Department of Licensing to take action on your privilege to drive, you should consider whether you ignored a legal issue in your previous home state and start with a call to that DOL.


Washington state has a relatively new law that leads to a license suspension following 3 moving violations in one year or 4 moving violations in two years. Your suspension will be for 60 days and you cannot get an alternate license such as an ignition interlock restricted license, which you can get with a DUI suspension (in most cases). 

In addition to the suspension, you have to complete a class and pay a reinstatement fee. And, if that weren’t bad enough, following the suspension, you are on a one year probationary period in which you become suspended again if you get a ticket within that time period.

Learn more about this 2023 law change.

Determining Why You Are Suspended

If you were arrested or told by law enforcement that your license is suspended, it is critical that you contact the Department of Licensing and determine the reason for your suspension. In many cases, there are quick remedies, such as paying old fines, that allow you to be reinstated. 

Sometimes, on old DUI cases or other criminal charges, the defendant resolved the case but forgot to finish requirements imposed by the judge. Hopefully, you have completed all of the tasks but simply need to file compliance with probation or the court so that the suspension can be lifted. There is really no way to know without contacting the Department of Licensing. Attorneys cannot do that for you. 

In Washington, you need to set up a license express account (if you have a Washington license) and it should list the requirements needed for reinstatement of your driving privilege. If you have an out of state license, you will have to call the Washington DOL and, likely, your home state DOL as well.

License eXpress

Do Not Delay In Taking Action

As you can see, there are many ways in which you can lose your privilege to drive. For many Washington drivers, just trying to unravel the mystery of why you are suspended in the first place can be incredibly frustrating. However, if you continue to drive, you are setting yourself up for some serious additional criminal charges. Do not drive on a suspended license!!!

As mentioned above, the first place to start is by setting up your license eXpress account or calling DOL and asking for clarification. If you had a past criminal case, you can also contact your previous attorney to determine if you completed the tasks required of you, including paying all fees, fines, and restitution. 

If you are facing a criminal charge in western Washington and need legal counsel, give our office a call. We are here 7 days a week to help. 360-792-1000

Ryan and Jen Witt of Witt Law Group, Kitsap County defense and personal injury lawyers

Get help now

Whether you choose to handle your case alone or engage the Witt Law Group, being informed and prepared is essential. Early involvement of an attorney can significantly impact your chances of a fair recovery, allowing you to focus on healing while we handle negotiations with insurance adjusters to secure fair compensation for your injuries.

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