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  1. #1

    Default Defenses to Driving With License Invalidated, RCW 46.20.342.1c

    My question involves a driver's license issued by the State of: Washington.


    I recently was pulled over for speeding. I did not recieve a ticket for the incident. However it was brought to my attention that my license was suspended. I had no idea. I got a ticket in a different state (Colorado) in 2010. When the officer gave me the citation, he informed me that the monetary value, if any, is dependant on my driving record and I would recieve notice in the mail.

    Problem was, I had moved and foolishly forgot to change my address with the DOL. So, I never got the notices from Colorado about the ticket and or the suspension. Since I had a clean record at the time, I wrongly figured that I was not penalised monetarily and the incident served as a warning. Yah, I know, stupid on my part, in hind sight.

    I have since paid the fines in Colorado, paid the fees in Washington and have been re-issued my license. However, I have an arraignment coming up for the DWLS 3rd degree.

    I have read the entire RCW.46.20.342.1C. No where does it mention jail time or even a monetary fine, at least from my perspective. When researching this charge, many of the lawyers sites claim that jail time and fines are a possibility. But I really can not find those in the RCW.

    Question: Can I really see jail time or fines for this charge if convicted? Especially if I honestly did not know that I was driving on a suspended license?

    Secondly, what is the best strategy to fight this charge?

    Any help is appreciated

  2. #2

    Default Re: Strategy for Fighting Rcw.46.20.342.1c

    Quote Quoting The Other Guy
    View Post
    I have read the entire RCW.46.20.342.1C. No where does it mention jail time or even a monetary fine, at least from my perspective.
    1C clearly defines it as a misdemeanor, meaning that it's a criminal charge - so both jail time AND fines are on the table as far as potential penalties. However, unless you have some OTHER significant problems in your driving history, and your fines and all other issues have been property dealt with, there's a VERY high chance that the criminal charge can be reduced to a mere infraction (which is a civil violation where the court might impose a fine, versus the criminal charge) or even that the case would simply be dropped altogether. Coming to court well prepared to show that your address is correct and all fines have been paid, will serve you well. Gotta stay on top of those address changes - failure to get one's address change with DMV completed in a timely manner is actually a separate violation itself (because failing to do so means you "miss out" on things like court notices, as you found out the hard way).

    So, COULD you face jail time? Technically,yes. Realistically...no, not unless either Washington's county jails are empty or this is your 10th such violation such that the judge has reason to believe it's the only way you'll learn your lesson.

    Best strategy: show the court that you're now in compliance, apologize, and make the court aware that you're now aware of the NEED to keep your information current as required by law.
    Catherine NeSmith
    Executive Director
    AARDVARC.org, Inc.
    http://www.aardvarc.org

    Fave Big Bang Theory site: Sheldon Cooper Fans

  3. #3

    Default Re: Defenses to Driving With License Invalidated, RCW 46.20.342.1c

    aardvarc,

    thank you for responding. Now you got me scared.

    Do I argue to mitigate the charge during the arraignment or plead not guilty and argue it later?

    Sorry for my ignorance, I just have never been in this situation before......

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