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P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 34521
Experience:  16 yrs. of experience including criminal law.
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I was given a ticket for dwls 3rd degree and it was my first

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I was given a ticket for dwls 3rd degree and it was my first offense. At my arriagnment i pleaded not guilty and decided to fight it pro se. I have a meeting with the prosecutor today. The notification of my suspension was sent to an old address and I have proof from the court that it was never delivered to me. WIll this be enough to get the charges dismissed?


My hesitation is that I recently moved to Washington and had not got a new drivers license in Washington. They sent the notification to my old states address( the address on my license). I'm guessing theres a law that required me to get a Washington license, and since I did not have a washington license this could be used as a valid reason the county failed to notify me of my suspension. Although, I did give the officer my new address at the time of the citation.

Thanks for the chance to assist on this matter. I am an attorney with over 12 years experience in criminal law.

I am sorry to have to bear bad news...I do not believe evidence that you never received the notice will prevent conviction. It certainly will not be grounds to dismiss.

You can see the law that applies here

Here is the link

If you look at the law that applies it states

(1) It is unlawful for any person to drive a motor vehicle in this state while that person is in a suspended or revoked status or when his or her privilege to drive is suspended or revoked in this or any other state. Any person who has a valid Washington driver's license is not guilty of a violation of this section.

This is what is called a "strict liability" offense.

That means the state is not required to prove you knew the license was suspended.

They only have to prove it was.

This is different from some crimes, for example, theft, where the state must prove "intent". Not true for driving with a suspended license.

Now...the fact you did not know IS relevant at sentencing. It would show that you should not be punished as strictly as if you did know.

But it will not excuse the crime. So it can not be used to dismiss.

Also, even if knowledge was an element, the fact the wrong address would not be enough to dismiss...that would be evidence for the jury or judge to consider in deciding guilt or innocence...but would not stop the state from charging.

Again, sorry to have to bear bad news

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks for the quick response! That's unfortunate. However, I can certainly better frame my conversation with the prosecutor with this information. Any advice on tactics to approach a plea bargain with the prosector?


First offense? The prosecutor wants to plea bargain (or most will)

But you are at a disadvantage if you are pro se...since when you are discussing the case with the prosecutor, technically everything you say could be used against you...since there is no privilege between you and the prosecutor.

Now, the rules surrounding this are actually much so you would want to hire a lawyer if it every become an issue. But if you go into the meeting with the assumption that what you say could, potentially be used in court against you, you can be circumspect in your communications

Still, as I mention, the prosecutor wants to deal the case. Less work...and prosecutors are lazy...just like most folks

I would go in and see what the prosecutor is offering.

Then, you can drop that you have evidence you did not have notice...that may get them to reduce the deal even further. I would be non confrontational, and direct. If you do not want the deal they offer, then counter with your own proposal.

But understand that for the most part "the deal is the deal"...they do not vary much for individual cases...they have a set deal based on the charge and the prior criminal history of the accused. For first offenses the deal is almost always the exact same...when you start to get a long criminal record you actually get a bit of wiggle room...but this is since the deal is typically much more strict.

Let me know if you have more questions...happy to assist if I can
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