2 Types of Restricted Licenses in Washington

A suspended or revoked driver license can severely disrupt a person’s ability to reintegrate into society, as they may have trouble attending important events like work, school, or even treatment. As a result, Washington has 2 types of restricted licenses that suspended drivers may apply for. In today’s blog, we will talk about the Ignition Interlock Driver License and Occupational/Restricted Driver License that can provide limited driving privileges.

2 Types of Restricted Licenses

Ignition Interlock Driver License

An Ignition Interlock Driver License (IIL) allows an individual to drive a vehicle while their license is suspended or revoked for a drug or alcohol-related offense. Those eligible for an IIL must have a driving record that shows all of the following:

  • an arrest or conviction for any of the following:
    • DUI or physical control involving drugs or alcohol
    • reckless driving;
    • vehicular assault involving drugs or alcohol;
    • vehicular homicide involving drugs or alcohol;
  • an unexpired Washington driver license or a valid out of state driver license;
  • your current suspension or revocation doesn't include:
    • Minor in Possession; or
    • Habitual Traffic Offender (suspended 1st degree).

To apply, an individual must Install an ignition interlock device in all their vehicles, and they must obtain proof of installation from their chosen installer. Applicants must also secure proof of financial responsibility, such as a Certificate of Insurance (SR-22), which a car insurance agent can help with. Then, after receiving the online application with associate fees, the Washington State Department of Licensing will review your documents and proof of payment. If they don't receive all the documents for your application within 30 days, they will deny your application, and you will need to reapply.

If the Department approves your application, they will mail your IIL when your license suspension or revocation begins. Accepted individuals should expect to get a temporary paper copy of their restricted license before the permanent license arrives. However, if the restricted license is effective for less than 45 days, you won't get a permanent license card.

You may apply for an IIL at any time, including after being arrested or after your revocation hearing. Be aware that when you get an IIL you must maintain an interlock device for all the vehicles you drive for the rest of your suspension (not necessarily all the cars you own). Individuals who drive for work must also install an IIL for any vehicle they drive during work hours if their employer:

  • owns, leases, or rents the vehicle;
  • is temporarily responsible for its care or maintenance.

However, this requirement may be waived for most work vehicles if you:

  • get your employer to sign an Employer Declaration for Ignition Interlock Exemption;
  • send a copy of the signed declaration before you drive vehicles for work;
  • carry a copy of the declaration with you whenever you drive a work vehicle that isn't equipped with an interlock device.

Individuals cannot drive a commercial motor vehicle while they have an IIL.

Occupational/Restricted Driver License

Individuals may also be eligible to apply for an Occupational/Restricted Driver License (ORL), which can allow those with suspended or revoked license to drive to:

  • work, including self-employment, WorkFirst, apprenticeship, or on-the-job training;
  • school;
  • court-ordered community service;
  • substance abuse treatment or 12-step meeting (if no transit service is available);
  • healthcare provider;
  • responsibility for providing continuing care for someone dependent on them.

The Department of Licensing will only issue an ORL to individuals who have a Washington driver license or valid out of state license. Individuals are not eligible for an ORL if:

  • they’ve been convicted of vehicular assault or vehicular homicide within the last 7 years prior to the current incident;
  • their driver license is suspended for:
    • DUI;
    • physical control (drug or alcohol-related);
    • minor in possession;
    • intermediate license violations;
    • failure to pay child support;
    • fraud;
    • medical or vision reasons;
    • violation of court-ordered probation;
    • habitual traffic offender status.

Those who fail to qualify on a medical or visual exam, qualify on a driver skills exam, or undergo required alcohol/chemical dependency treatment are also not eligible for an ORL.

Drivers may submit a Restricted Driver License Application online or visit a driver licensing office location. Note that the application includes a non-refundable $100 fee. Applicants must also provide one of the following as proof of financial responsibility:

  • certificate of insurance (SR-22);
  • State Treasurer's certificate of deposit of $60,000 or approved collateral of equal value;
  • surety bond executed by the person giving proof and a surety company authorized to do business in Washington, or by the person giving proof and by 2 individual sureties.

As with an IIL, those who have been accepted for an ORL will receive a temporary paper copy of their license, and the permanent one will come in later via mail. If your restricted license is effective for less than 45 days, you won't get a permanent license card.

Note that an ORL restricts the:

  • times of day you may drive (not to exceed 12 hours in a 24-hour period);
  • days of the week you may drive;
  • areas where you may drive;
  • vehicles you may drive (vehicles that you've filed proof of financial responsibility).

Individuals cannot get an ORL to drive a commercial motor vehicle.

The Department may cancel a person’s ORL if any of the following occurs:

  • they’re convicted of operating a vehicle in violation of the ORL restrictions;
  • they commit an offense that requires the Department to suspend/revoke their driving privilege while the ORL is in effect;
  • they no longer meet the criteria;
  • they cancel their SR-22 insurance.
  • they remove a required ignition interlock device (IID).

Questions? Contact Hester Law Group!

If your driver license has been suspended or revoked in Washington, you may be eligible for special licenses, like an Ignition Interlock Driver License or Occupational/Restricted Driver License. An attorney can help you establish your eligibility and apply for the special license, which may reinstate some limited driving privileges.

Contact us at Hester Law Group to discuss your license options today!