Criminal Defense in Whatcom County
Criminal Defense Bellingham Whatcom County WA
Criminal Defense Whatcom County Washington | Law Firm of David N Jolly

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Whatcom Criminal Defense Bellingham Wa

Driving Crimes in Whatcom County can Suspend your License and Result in Jail


As mentioned in previous paragraphs a driving crime in Whatcom County can cause significant collateral harm.  Certain offenses such as driving while license suspended second degree, driving while license suspended first degree, hit and run attended, DUI and reckless driving will cause further license suspensions.  A reckless driving or DUI conviction in Bellingham may also result in the requirement of an ignition interlock device.  Additionally, a Whatcom County DUI or driving while license suspended first degree attended have mandatory, and in some cases significant, jail time.  Such penalties are horrendous but they may also cause difficultly with family life and loss of employment. Fortunately there are options which should reduce the severity these Whatcom County driving crimes cause.  Phone our Bellingham lawyers for a free consultation to discuss your options.

Driving While License Suspended in Whatcom County


RCW 46.20.342:  Driving while license invalidated — Penalties — Extension of invalidation  (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.


The most commonly committed criminal driving offense in Whatcom County is driving while suspended in the third degree.  To be honest this offense is easy to commit but will result in the perpetrator appearing in from of a Judge in Whatcom County District Court or Bellingham Municipal Court.  To commit this crime a driver is caught driving while their license is eligible for reinstatement but they have not paid the reinstatement fee from the Department of Licensing.  If you have been charged with driving while license suspended, whether it be first, second or third degree, it is imperative to reinstate your driver’s license.  Such a reinstatement will help you in court and potentially reduce the offense, which is important considering driving while license suspended in the second degree has a mandatory one year of further license suspension and driving while license suspended in the first degree has significant and mandatory jail (10 days for a first offense, 90 days for a second offense, and 180 days for a third offense).

Driving Crimes in Whatcom County

Suspended License

Hit and Run Driving Crimes in Whatcom County


There are two types of misdemeanor Hit and Run crimes in Washington State, hit and run "attended" and hit and run "unattended."  Hit and Run attended is more serious and will suspend your license for a one year period while Hit and Run unattended will not suspend your driver's license.  It is imperative to avoid the more serious of the two Hit and Run crimes, for obvious reasons.  If your criminal traffic record is not too terrible and the facts not too negative, it is possible to negotiate an amendment to the lesser of the two evils.


RCW 46.52.010: Duty on striking unattended car or other property — Penalty (1) The operator of any vehicle which collided with any other vehicle which is unattended shall immediately stop and shall then and there either locate and notify the operator or owner of such vehicle of the name and address of the operator and owner of the vehicle striking the unattended vehicle or shall leave in a conspicuous place in the vehicle struck a written notice, giving the name and address of the operator and of the owner of the vehicle striking such other vehicle.
RCW 46.52.020:  Duty in case of personal injury or death or damage to attended vehicle or other property — Penalties (2)(a) The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting only in damage to a vehicle which is driven or attended by any person or damage to other property must move the vehicle as soon as possible off the roadway or freeway main lanes, shoulders, medians, and adjacent areas to a location on an exit ramp shoulder, the frontage road, the nearest suitable cross street, or other suitable location. The driver shall remain at the suitable location until he or she has fulfilled the requirements of subsection (3) of this section. Moving the vehicle in no way affects fault for an accident.

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Reckless Driving in Whatcom County


Reckless Driving is defined as driving a vehicle, in Whatcom County, "in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property."  RCW 46.61.500.  The crime of Reckless Driving is classified as a gross misdemeanor and is punishable by up to 364 days in jail.  Further, there is a license suspension of 30 days.  Additionally, RCW 46.61.465 states that "unlawful operation of a vehicle in excess of the maximum lawful speeds ... shall be prima facie evidence of the operation of a motor vehicle in a reckless manner..."

Reckless Driving can be committed by dangerous driving or simply driving too fast (20 mph or more than the posted speed limit).  However, our Whatcom County criminal defense attorneys often see a resulting conviction of Reckless Driving following a charged of DUI in Bellingham (or anywhere in Whatcom County) when the parties have agreed to amend the original charge to that of Reckless Driving.  The penalties for this offense are important to note.  The license suspension of 30 days is severe but if the original charge was DUI then the driver is eligible for the Ignition Interlock License enabling him/her to continue to drive despite the obvious restriction.  If the originating charge was not DUI then the driver may be eligible for an Occupational/Restricted Driver License.  Further, if the driver received a license suspension as a result of negative result from the DOL driver hearing (resulting from a DUI arrest) then the 30 days of license suspension would run concurrent wit the previous suspension - in other words, the driver would receive credit for the time served for the other license suspension.

If the driver is convicted of Reckless Driving due to an amendment from DUI in Whatcom County and has a prior DUI, then the driver will be required by the Department of Licensing for a period of 6 months.  Clearly the consequences of a conviction for Reckless Driving in Whatcom County are serious and the penalties severe.  Please call one of our Bellingham Traffic Lawyers to discuss your Whatcom County Reckless Driving case.

by David N. Jolly

Whatcom County DUI Defense Lawyer

DUI Books

  Whatcom County Traffic Attorneys


The most severe of all misdemeanor traffic crimes is Driving Under the Influence of alcohol, drugs or a combination of both.  Our Whatcom County traffic lawyers have experience defending DUIs and David Jolly was also a prosecuting attorney for several years.  We have the experience to both fight on your behalf in court and defend you at the Department of Licensing Hearing.  However, a good solid defense is more than that.  We will provide you with information to help you navigate a very difficult and confusing system.  It is important to make a complicated environment as simple and straight forward as possible.  We will guide you every step of the way from the mandatory alcohol drug evaluation, the alcohol drug information school (ADIS), the DUI Victim Panel and even, if necessary, we will help you obtain an ignition interlock license, ignition interlock device and SR 22 insurance.  If you have been charged with a driving crime there are several options you have that may lead to a superior result in court, keep you from jail, and reduce or eliminate any additional license suspension.   Depending on the traffic crime in Whatcom County, such helpful tips may include completing traffic school, reinstating your driver's license, and ensuring that restitution is paid to the victim if you were involved in an accident.  Please click on the buttons to the right for specific and helpful information that may reduce the severity of your traffic crime and help mitigate the damage already caused.   Let our experience help you and it starts with a free consultation by calling our office at (360) 293-2275.

Recently I had a DUI in Whatcom County.  I called many Bellingham lawyers but decided that David Jolly was the best choice. He was very kind and compassionate but honest, which I liked. I was also impressed by his knowledge and the fact that he has written so many books. It was a difficult time but he got my DUI reduced and saved my license. 

- Kevin, Bellingham, WA

Law Firm of David N. Jolly

218 W. Champion Street, Bellingham, WA, United States 98225

(360) 293-2275

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If you are convicted of DUI in Whatcom County you must install an ignition interlock device on your car for 1 year (first offense), 5 years (2nd offense) or 10 years (3 offense).

 Licensing Options

Following an arrest for DUI in Whatcom County you must request a DOL hearing within 20 days to keep your license.  

If you lose your license after the DOL Hearing, a conviction of DUI, or amendment to Reckless Driving in Whatcom County, you may continue to drive with an Ignition Interlock License.

We are a team of experienced traffic lawyers in Bellingham, Whatcom County.  With over 20 years in the local legal community we understand what it takes to get the best deals for our clients and avoid significant license suspensions.  David Jolly is also the author of 14 Traffic & DUI books.

Traffic Lawyers 

  • A DUI conviction in Whatcom County will suspend your license for at least 90 days
  • Reckless Driving in Whatcom County will suspend your license for 30 days
  • Hit and Run attended will suspend your license for 1 year
  • DWLS 2 will suspend your license for 1 year
  • DWLS 1 will suspend your license for 1+ years 
  • Get a Free Whatcom County DUI Book

  Guide to your License

If you drive when your license is suspended in Whatcom County you have committed a crime! Such an offense may re-suspend your license and send you to Jail. Call our Whatcom criminal lawyers.

Hit & Run, Reckless Driving

Court in Whatcom County and Bellingham is intimidating.  Unless you understand the system you have no hope. Take control, call our criminal lawyers in Bellingham now!

An arrest for DUI will have an immediate impact on those in Whatcom County. Your license is also subject to suspension by the DOL.  You must appeal within 20 days!

DUI in Whatcom County