by Jack Russillo
A bill that could alter how people are charged for Washington’s most commonly charged crime sits on Gov. Jay Inslee’s desk, but how he chooses to sign the bill — or not — could affect how it’s implemented.
Senate Bill 5226 could provide relief and opportunity to thousands of residents impacted by the state’s driver’s license suspension policies. “Driving While License Suspended in the Third Degree,” or DWLS3, is the least serious crime for driving with a suspended license. The misdemeanor can be charged in a variety of contexts. The most common occurs when a driver receives a ticket for a moving violation but does not follow through by paying the ticket or showing up in court to contest it. DWSL3 is the state’s most frequently charged offense, affecting tens of thousands of residents every year solely for failure to pay a fine.
“If you have money, none of this is a problem,” said Mark Cooke, the policy director of the ACLU’s Washington Campaign for Smart Justice. “If you can afford to pay this bill up front, you don’t have to worry about license suspensions.”Continue reading Inslee’s Signature on Bill Could Reduce or Add to Washington’s Most Charged Crime