June 9, 2023

DOL Licenses Border Scofflaws, Suspends Traffic Scofflaws

Washington issues driver’s licenses to undocumented aliens, while withholding the privilege from those who fail to pay a speeding ticket. 

In 2011, legislators tried but failed to change this policy.  Since the Hispanic vote was seen as pivotal in the 2012 presidential victory of Barrack Obama, the policy trend is widening, as 9 other states give licenses regardless of immigration status (CO, CT, OR, MD, NM, NV, RI, UT, VT); and 11 states (including CA and TX) are considering bills to become like Washington; while just 2 states (AZ, NB) refuse licenses to young undocumented immigrants or anyone in the country illegally.  The rationale is simple: a licensed driver is more likely to be an insured driver which benefits everyone when an accident occurs; while not suspending for unpaid traffic fines would reduce revenue by removing the major incentive to pay one’s fines—thus the law makes sense even while causing political heartburn in some quarters.  Driving While License Suspended (DWS) is the most common criminal charge in Clark County WA, as police officers routinely run license plate numbers through the laptop computer in their car to determine if the registered owner of the vehicle is suspended.  If stopped, give your real name as giving a false name can lead to a more serious criminal charge called Obstructing or even the felony of Criminal Impersonation.    First Degree DWS carries mandatory jail time.   Second Degree DWS carry a one year license suspension and under some circumstances a mandatory 30-day confinement period.  Third Degree DWS tickets are routinely reduced to an infraction if the driver reinstates their driving privilege within a reasonable period of time.  To sign up for the Driver’s Restoration Program, which began in Clark County and has helped thousands regain the right to drive, call Clark County Corrections at 360.397.2436.


Sources: Seattle Times / National Immigration Law Center