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3 Non-Driving Reasons for a License Suspension

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Driver’s license suspensions are common after a person commits a serious traffic offense, such as driving under the influence or a hit and run. However, the Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL) may suspend a driver’s license for reasons beyond driving behaviors. In some cases, you may face license suspension for reasons such as failure to pay child support, unpaid traffic tickets, or expired driving skill exams.

#1: Not Following Child Support Orders

Child support orders can result in a license suspension. If you fail to pay or comply with your child support order, the Washington Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) will send your information to the DOL. After receiving this notice, the DOL will send you a suspension notice that explains why your suspension occurred, and how to reinstate your driving privileges.

The DOL will maintain your suspension until the DSHS sends notice that you are complying with your child support order. During this suspension, you cannot apply for a driver’s license, receive a restricted license, or drive in Washington with a license from another state. The DOL does not allow for you to appeal your suspension.

#2: Unpaid Traffic Tickets

If you receive traffic tickets, you must pay the fines in a timely manner and comply with any other requirements, such as court appearances. Failure to pay traffic tickets or appear in court can lead to a license suspension or revocation. The DOL will uphold the suspension until you either pay the fine or attend your court date, and the court informs the DOL that you complied with these requirements.

Unlike child support suspensions, you can file an appeal for cases involving unpaid tickets or failed court appearances. You have 15 days from the postmarked date on your suspension notice to file your appeal. You may also apply for a restricted license. Your DOL documentation will detail the steps you need to take to file an appeal or reinstate your license. Speak with a Tacoma license suspension lawyer to help you with a license reinstatement.

#3: Failure to Complete a Reexamination of Driving Skills

Washington requires drivers to complete driving skill exams, as well as obtain vision and physical certificates, at certain times. If you do not provide updated documents or retake these tests, the DOL will suspend your license. In these cases, your suspension will continue until you submit new certificates that adhere licensing standards, or pass a driver reexamination.

You cannot appeal or contest these decisions unless your suspension involves a physical or vision condition that prevents you from driving. You will need to file your appeal within 15 days of the suspension notice, proving that your condition either didn’t exist, has improved, or you can operate your vehicle safely despite the condition.

How to Reinstate Your Driver’s License

Your suspension notice will detail how and when you can reinstate your license. Typically, you will need to provide the DOL with a SR-22 Financial Responsibility Form. You will also need to pay a $75 fee in addition to any other licensing fees or fines you may incur. You may also need to take additional steps outlined in your suspension notice.

If you wish to defer your suspension, you may have the option to take a defensive driving course. If you pass the course, the court will not report your violation to the DOL. However, this option is only available for minor traffic infractions, and you may not be eligible for the deferment program.

In certain cases, you can also appeal the suspension within 15 days of receiving your suspension notice. The documentation you receive from the Washington DOL will list the steps you can take to file the appeal. In these situations, contact a Washington defense attorney to assist you with the appeals process. As soon as you receive your suspension notice, contact your lawyer to begin building your case and discuss your next steps.

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