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What can I expect from getting caught driving on a suspended licence in the 3rd degree while still on probation?

Seattle, WA |
Attorney answers 4


In a sense, you're in luck. You are on probation for Reckless Driving. If you were on probation for DUI you would be facing a mandatory 30-day confinement sanction on your probation.

Assuming you are convicted of the driving while suspended, your sanction is difficult to gauge without more information. (Keep in mind, you can still be punished for a probation violation even if the DWS is dismissed. The State only has to prove you violated your probation by a preponderance of evidence -- 51%) It will depend on your prior record, your performance so far on probation, the judge, how you resolve the DWS charge, etc.

Generally, if the judge is in a good mood, you've done well on probation up until now and you resolve the DWS favorably (never miss court, have it dismissed or get your license back, etc) judges will either reassign probation or issue a short work program sanction.

You should get an attorney. He or she may be able to reach a favorable resolution on your DWS charge that could affect your probation violation. If nothing else, your attorney will be able to look at all these factors and give you a realistic estimate.


Well, the very first thing you should try to do is get your license back. What the court and or prosecutor will do depends a great deal on the resolution of the DWLS 3 case. Since I don't know what court you are on probation out of, its hard to know what they will do on your case. But what I know for certain is that a conviction for DWLS 3 looks tons worse than an infraction for no vaild operator's license on person (a very common reduction for those with DWLS 3 convictions who have subsequently obtained their license). As the commentator below stated, on a DUI, it is mandatory that 30 days of jail be imposed for a finding that a probation violation for driving with a suspended license occurred. You are lucky you are not in that situation. You are not lucky in that both the court and the prosecutor will know that you are lucky and the prosecutor will certainly be thinking about that when she makes her recommendation.

Get your license back ASAP and get an attorney to help you with your review. And if you know you can't get your license back soon, get an attorney ASAP!


First, you can expect to receive notice of a hearing from the court where you got the Reckless Driving for a probation violation. This is because you were most likely ordered to have no criminal law violations, and not to drive without a valid license and insurance. As to the criminal law violation allegation, if you can get the new DWLS charge reduced to an infraction, you may be able to avoid being punished for that violation. As to the driving without a valid license and insurance, some court see have held that this means you have to have been driving without BOTH a valid license AND insurance. Thus, if you had insurance at the time, or if the prosecution cannot prove you did not, then you may prevail on this as well.

Second, on the DWLS 3 charge itself, many jurisdictions will readily reduce it to an infraction of No Valid License on Person with ID. However, to qualify for a reduction you must get your license reinstated. Probably what happened is that you had a 3o day suspension on the Reckless, thought you were good to go after the 30 days, but never reinstated after the 30 days, which is a requirement. So it may be a matter of just applying for reinstatement, paying the fee for that, and getting your license before your next court hearing on the DWLS 3.

Third, you need qualified legal representation. There could be a single fact that you left out of your question that could send this entire answer in an entirely different direction.

Good luck.

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.


The judge can revoke and jail time that was "suspended" on the Reckless. Typically, on a first reckless there is no jail imposed, thus 364 days may have been suspended. The judge may require you to do jail time up to 364 days. Or, you could argue that community service or some other punishment is more appropriate.

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.