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What happens if you fail to appear in court after a charge was dropped from a DUI to a reckless driving?

Tacoma, WA |

In WA state what happens if you fail to appear in court after appearing once and getting the charges for a DUI dropped to reckless driving? How can a person get their license back after this?

Attorney Answers 4

Posted

Your question is a little confusing. If your charges were dropped down from a DUI to a reckless driving, did you enter a plea? If so were you placed on probation? If you did not enter a plea and your case is still pending, then a failure to appear may result in a warrant for your arrest issued. On the other hand, if you entered a plea, then the sanctions probably include a suspension of your license and probation. In order to get your license reinstated, you need to complete all the sanctions ordered by the court then go to your local DMV and attempt to get your license reinstated. If there is a time period for the suspension of your license as a result of entering a plea, then you may qualify for a hardship license.

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Posted

In Washington, it depends why your license is suspended.

If you are suspended because of an administrative action by DOL based on the arrest for DUI you can get a conditional license during the suspension (if this is the only reason for the suspension). You must apply for the license with DOL and show proof that you have installed an interlock ignition device in your vehicle and have SR22 insurance.

If you are suspended as a result of a reckless driving conviction you can apply for an occupational license. You will only be able to drive during certain hours as set by DOL. Again, this must be the only reason for the suspension and you will need SR22 insurance. For either of the first two reasons you can apply for reinstatement after the suspension period is up.

If you are suspended because you did not show up to court you will have to clear the failure to appear (FTA) with the court before you can get your license. You will not be eligible for reinstatement until this is taken care of. Contact your attorney to file a motion to quash or a bail bond company to post bond for you.

In Washington, an officer can run your license plates at any time. If the registered owner has a suspended license the vehicle can AND WILL be stopped. If you are caught driving on a suspended license you will be facing an additional crime and possible sanctions on the DUI/Reckless Driving (either by violating the terms of your sentence or the conditions of pretrial release).

The answer provided is for educational purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. You should consult an attorney for legal advice regarding the facts of your specific case and designed to help you with your personal needs.

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Posted

If your appearance was waived for the appearance, nothing will happen other than the charge being reduced. If you did not waive your appearance, call the court and ask if you can have the hearing reset so that you can appear and explain your absence. You may have a warrant that must be quashed.

To get you license back after a suspension for reckless, get SR22 insurance and go to DOL to apply. There is a fee to reinstate that you must pay.

This answer is my personal opinion, offered for informational purposes only. It is not a legal opinion, nor is it legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship with anyone reading it.

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Posted

If you fail to appear for a court hearing, the court will do one of three things. If the judge believes that they have your correct address and you failed to appear for a necessary court hearing the judge will issue a warrant for your address. This happens roughly 90-95% of the time. If the judge finds that the hearing was necessary and the court did not have your correct address, the court will resend you notice to the different address so you can get notice of your hearing. This occurs about 5% of the time. Sometimes (very rarely), the court will find that the hearing was originally set in error and even though you failed to appear, the court will strike the hearing and not issue a warrant. If a person fails to appear for a driving offense and a warrant issues for their arrest, the Department of Licensing will be sent notice of this by the court and issue what's known as a failure to appear (FTA) notice. The DOL will then suspend your license. The only way to get the FTA notice suspension off and reinstate your license is to get the warrant cleared.

You should get an attorney, either the attorney who appeared originally in your case or a new attorney, to address your issues ASAP. You risk getting arrested on new driving while license suspended charges and being taken in custody on the warrant.

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Scott Weymouth Lawrence

Scott Weymouth Lawrence

Posted

Mr. Smith has provided a very eloquent, thorough and accurate answer regarding failure to appear at arraignment. The only thing I would add is that if you signed for the missed court date at a previous hearing a warrant will issue regardless of whether or not the court has a valid address.

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