The degree of your charge has nothing to do with prior offenses, but rather, with the nature of the suspension. A 2nd degree charge can mean your license was suspended as a result of a DUI or some mandatory Department of Licensing action. You definitely need to consult an attorney as soon as possible regarding this case, as a conviction for a 2nd degree charge can re-suspend your license for a year.
Call now for a FREE consultation.
After reading both your question and your explanation, you are right to be confused. If the Washington suspension was somehow based on the California suspension, you are correct that the charge should be DWLS 3. DWLS 3 is the appropriate charge when you are suspended but eligible to be reinstated. Is it possible that you are suspended in Washington for another reason? DWLS 2 is the appropriate charge if you have had your license suspended based upon some criminal traffic incident or administrative suspension, and you were caught driving prior to being eligible for reinstatement.
DWLS cases can become a bit of a quagmire. Contacting a criminal traffic attorney in your area and fully explaining the facts to him or her probably wouldn't be a bad idea.
Sign up to receive a 3-part series of useful information and legal advice about DUIs.