Failure to appear (FTA) driver license suspensions

Some Washingtonians and non-residents with suspended licenses have had their driving privileges reinstated. A Thurston County Superior Court ruling lifts driver license suspensions if you didn't:

  • Respond to a ticket,

  • Pay the fines, or

  • Appear at a court hearing.

This affects non-criminal moving violations in Washington state.

Does this affect my license?

It might. To find out, you need to check your license status.

  • Check the status of your license on Department of Licensing website to see if it's valid or suspended. You'll need your driver license or ID card number and birth date.

    • A valid license will display "Driver license" under "This DLN is valid for the following credential types."

    • A suspended license will display "Driver license" under "Your license is not valid for the following credentials."

My license is valid, can I drive legally?

If your driver license is valid, and you have the license, you can start driving again legally.

If it's valid and you don't have the license, you can replace your license online.

If it has been more than 6 years since you had a valid license, follow the steps to getting your first license.

If your license is suspended, you may have suspensions or related fines you need to address. You must resolve your reinstatement requirements to restore your driving privilege.

How to reinstate a suspended license to drive legally

You must have a License Express account for this step. Please log in or join to get a list of what you need to do to get your driving privileges back. While logged in, select the "View reinstatement requirements" link. This will open a customized list. Once you've resolved all the items, you can take the next step to get your card. You can:

If it has been more than 6 years since you had a valid license, follow the steps to getting your first license.

Reinstating a driver license suspended for failure to appear for a Driving while License Suspended 3rd Degree charge

If you are reinstating a driver license suspended for failure to appear (FTA) for a Driving while License Suspended 3rd Degree (DWLS3) charge that was later reduced to a non-criminal traffic offense or dismissed, you may be eligible to have the standard $75 reissuance fee waived.

Reinstating drivers who received an FTA suspension for a DWLS3 charge that was reduced or dismissed should contact DOL via email at FTAquestions@dol.wa.gov for further information on fee waiver eligibility.

If a reinstating driver is eligible to have this fee removed, the email will direct them to online services to complete their transaction if a new license is needed or direct them to make an appointment if they wish to visit an office. If evidence that the DWLS3 charge was reduced or dismissed cannot be found by DOL staff or provided by the reinstating driver, the $75 fee cannot be waived.

Definitions

The term failure to appear, or FTA, describes traffic infractions where someone fails to:

  • Pay fines

  • Appear at court hearings

Non-criminal moving violations don't require a court appearance. Examples include:

  • Speeding.

  • Not stopping.

  • Using your phone when driving.

  • Not signaling.

Criminal moving violations require a court appearance. Examples include:

  • Driving under the influence.

  • Vehicular homicide.

  • Reckless driving.

  • Racing.

  • Driving with a suspended license.

Questions? Need help?