Be forewarned, if you are convicted of Reckless Driving, you may need to get an interlock license.
For many people accused of DUI in Washington state, their ultimate goal is to have the original charge of DUI amended to a lesser offense. In most instances, that is either Reckless Driving (RCW 46.61.500) or Negligent Driving First Degree (RCW 46.61.5249). For Reckless Driving, the law requires the DOL to suspend a person's driving privilege for 30 days. Until recently, a person would only be able to drive with an occupational restricted license during a 30 day license suspension for Reckless Driving. This restricted license requires SR 22 insurance and limits the time and geographical area a person may drive, but does not require an interlock.
Recently, the DOL made changes to their policy to give a day-for-day credit for any administrative suspension towards any criminal suspension for Reckless Driving. For example, if a person were to be arrested for DUI and lose the administrative hearing and have his or her license suspended for 90 days (or more), then months later get a deal on the criminal case and plea to an amended charge Reckless Driving, their license would not be suspended for an additional 30 days. This is a very positive change.
A recent change in policy by DOL for Reckless Driving convictions that is inconsistent with the law
Just today, however, I learned of a new detrimental position the DOL has taken regarding Reckless Driving convictions. They have basically eliminated the occupational restricted license for the 30 day suspension. Instead, they now require a person to apply for an interlock license for 30 days. This means if a person were to be arrested for DUI and were to win the administrative hearing, and was later convicted of DUI, the Department is now requiring the person to apply for an interlock license.
This is very troubling to me as it contradicts the law. I have had two clients who just learned this week that in order to drive during the 30 day suspension for Reckless Driving they must obtain an interlock license. Whether this policy continues in the future is unclear as I suspect their will be many challenges by driver's who are adversely affected by this ridiculous new policy.
As always, DUI law in Washington state is constantly changing. Anyone arrested for suspicion of DUI or Physical Control should immediately consult with an experienced lawyer. At Wolff Criminal Defense, we offer a free initial consultation and are available directly 7 days a week at 425-284-2000.