Habitual traffic offender

A habitual traffic offender (HTO) is a driver who, within a 5-year period, has been:

  • Convicted of 3 or more offenses listed in RCW 46.65.020(1).
  • or
  • Found to have been convicted of or committed 20 or more moving violations listed in WAC 308-104-160.

The violations must have occurred within a 5-year period. If more than 1 of these offenses are committed within a 6-hour period, they’re only counted as 1 on the first occasion.

Loss of driving privilege

If you’re found to be a habitual traffic offender, your driver license will be revoked until it’s eligible to be reinstated.

If you meet requirements, you may request a hearing to stay (not impose) the revocation or to reinstate your driving privilege. All hearing requests must be submitted in writing.

Stay hearings

Requirements

If the offenses that led to the HTO were caused by drug or alcohol dependency, you may request a hearing to have your license revocation stayed (not imposed). A stay may be granted if:

  • You’ve been assessed as “substance dependent” (“substance abuse” or “insufficient evidence of substance abuse/dependence” doesn’t qualify). To prove you meet this requirement, you must contact your assessing agency and have them submit a completed Assessment/Treatment Report for DSHS Certified Agencies to our Alcohol Section.
  • Since the last offense, you’ve completed a treatment program or have completed the first 60 days of treatment with current compliance. To prove you meet this requirement, you must contact your treatment agency and have them submit a completed Assessment/Treatment Report for DSHS Certified Agencies to our Alcohol Section.
  • You aren’t in HTO status for violating a previous stay or probation.
  • The offenses leading to your license revocation were caused by or the result of alcoholism or drug addiction.

Read the New Diagnostic Categories for Substance Use Disorders letter from DSHS for more information.

How to request a stay hearing

To request a stay hearing, complete a Habitual Traffic Offender Hearing Request and mail or fax it to us at:

  • Mail:
    Hearing and Interviews Section
    Department of Licensing
    PO Box 9031
    Olympia, WA 98507
  • Fax: 360.570.4950

Reinstatement hearings

Requirements

You may qualify for a reinstatement hearing if:

  • You’ve been in HTO status for at least 4 years.
  • There’s no evidence you’ve driven within the past 2 years.
  • You’ve met all alcohol requirements (if any).
  • You aren’t suspended for non-compliance with treatment.
  • At least 1 year has passed since any previous reinstatement requests have been denied.

If you’re incarcerated, you may request a hearing upon release if you meet the requirements listed above for either a reinstatement or stay hearing.

How to request a reinstatement hearing

To request a reinstatement hearing, complete a Habitual Traffic Offender Hearing Request and mail or fax it to us at:

  • Mail:
    Hearing and Interviews Section
    Department of Licensing
    PO Box 9031
    Olympia, WA 98507
  • Fax: 360.570.4950

Other issues may affect your driving privilege

Individuals with a habitual offender revocation often have other issues with their driving privilege. All licensing issues must be resolved before we can issue a new license.

The instructions on this page only apply to a habitual traffic offender revocation. To learn how to resolve other types of driving suspensions or revocations, see Types of suspensions.

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