Skip to main content

How does WA state treat out of state driver license suspensions?

Washington |

Does the Washington state DMV/DOL honor license suspension from California? I am asking about a California DMV license suspension not a suspension from a California court.
The CA suspension was for 1 year for breathalyzer refusal on a DUI arrest. Eventually pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of Wet Reckless.
I have never had a CA license, only a WA license. I have been a resident of WA my whole life.
My arrest occured at a CA sobriety check point. Since these check points are unconstitutional in Washington, can the WA DMV honor a CA DMV suspension for refusal? There would have been no refusal or any incident without the check point.
This occured in CA in 2003. WA has not suspended my license and I have renewed it once since then. I just want to make sure I'm doing things right.

+ Read More

Attorney answers 1


There are two ways that your Washington driving privileges could be affected by your non-action with regard to the California suspension.

The first is if Washington suspended you based on the California conviction. If Washington had been notified of the California conviction for reckless driving, it generally would have suspended you for 30 days. In order to be reinstated, you would have needed to show proof of SR-22 insurance, a condition that wold have lasted for three years. Based upn the age of the case and the fact that you renewed without incident in 2004 it is likely that a) Washington never received notice of the conviction or b) since Washington does not have a "wet reckless" statute, there was no basis for a Washington suspension. Regardless, the SR-22 requirement would have run its course by now.

The second way your Washington status could have been affected is if your license had remained suspended in California for failing to satisfy the SR-22 requirements down there. In general, however, the SR-22 requirement is only in affect for three years. Assuming a 2003 suspension for a period of one year on the refusal, that requirement wold have run in 2007.

In short, it is unlikely your renewal in 2009 will be affected. If you are concerned, call the Washington DOL to check on the staus of your driving privilege or check online at

Get Avvo’s 3-part DUI email series

A roundup of the best tips and legal advice.

DUI topics

Recommended articles about DUI

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer