Washington Restricted License

The three types of Washington restricted licenses are learner’s licenses, occupational licenses, and ignition interlock licenses.
Written by Amber Reed
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
background
The three types of restricted driver’s licenses in Washington include a learner’s license, an occupational restricted license, and an ignition interlock license. With these types of licenses, new drivers and drivers with serious violations can get behind the wheel under certain conditions.
Need to apply for a restricted license? This guide from
car insurance
expert
Jerry
covers all three types of restricted driver’s licenses in Washington. We’ll go over what you need to do to get them, what restrictions they carry, and how to find the
best car insurance in Washington
.
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What is a restricted license in Washington?

Here are the three types of
Washington driver’s licenses
that limit when or where you can drive:
  • Learner’s license: Young motorists between the ages of 15 and 17 have limitations on their licenses while they learn to drive.
  • Occupational license: This type of license allows motorists with suspended driver’s licenses to operate a vehicle under certain circumstances.
  • Ignition interlock license: This type of license allows some motorists with drug- or alcohol-related offenses to drive under the condition that their vehicle is equipped with an ignition interlock device.
MORE: How to get cheap car insurance for young drivers

How to get a Washington learner’s license

If you’re a new driver in Washington, you can apply for a learner’s license at 15 years old if you’re enrolled in a state-approved driver training program. If you choose not to enroll in a course, you must wait until you are 15½ years old before you can apply for a learner’s license. 
Once you meet the age requirements, you can
pre-apply
for your learner’s license online, and then
schedule an appointment
at your local licensing office. You’ll need to bring a parent or legal guardian with you, so they can sign the parental authorization affidavit. Here’s what you’ll need to do during your appointment:
You can
schedule a road test
to get your intermediate license once you turn 16 years old, as long as you have held your learner’s license for at least six months. To qualify for an intermediate license, you must have completed a driver training program or logged 40 hours of daylight driving practice and 10 hours of nighttime driving practice under the supervision of a licensed adult. 

Restrictions on a Washington learner’s license

In Washington, both the learner’s license and intermediate license come with limitations on when you can drive and who can be in the car with you.
If you’re a new driver with a learner’s license, you are only allowed to operate a vehicle if you’re accompanied by a driver’s education instructor or an adult who has held a driver’s license for at least five years.
Once you’ve graduated to an intermediate license you will be allowed to operate a vehicle alone, but this type of license still includes some restrictions:
  • For the first six months that you have your intermediate license, you cannot have any passengers in the car that are under 20 years old unless they are members of your immediate family.
  • After the first six months, you cannot have more than three passengers in the car that are under the age of 20, unless they are members of your immediate family.
  • As long as you hold an intermediate license, you cannot drive between the hours of 1 am and 5 am unless you’re accompanied by a licensed driver who is at least 25 years old.
Those restrictions might be frustrating, but you can apply for your full license as soon as you turn 17 years old if you have a
clean driving record
. Teen drivers with traffic violations or tickets on their record will need to wait until they are 18 years old to get an unrestricted driver’s license.
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How to get a Washington occupational license

Having your
license suspended in Washington
can cause some major stress. Getting around without a car is a hassle in some areas and almost impossible in others. That’s why the Evergreen State allows some drivers with suspended licenses to apply for an occupational license. This type of restricted license will allow you to drive under certain conditions while you work on
reinstating your Washington driver's license
.
To get an occupational license in Washington, you can either visit your local driver’s licensing office or
apply online
. You’ll also need to pay a $100 fee and submit one of the following as proof of financial responsibility:
  • An
    SR-22
    certificate confirming that you meet Washington’s insurance requirements
  • A certificate of deposit for either $60,000 or approved collateral of equal value from the state treasurer
  • A surety bond that guarantees you will abide by the terms of the occupational license
If the Washington Department of Licensing determines that you don’t meet the requirements, you are allowed to request a hearing to try and make a case for why you need an occupational license.

Restrictions on a Washington occupational license

A Washington occupational license limits
where you are allowed to drive
. With this type of restricted license, you are only permitted behind the wheel if you’re traveling to or from one of the following locations:
  • Work
  • School
  • Court-ordered community service
  • A substance abuse treatment center or 12-step meeting
  • Medical appointments
You are also allowed to drive in order to provide care to someone who is dependent on you or if you need to apply for job training. However, the exact restrictions you’ll face depend on why your license was suspended in the first place
For example, a driver whose license was suspended for neglecting to pay a fine might be granted lighter restrictions than someone who received a reckless driving charge. But if your license was suspended because you are considered a habitual traffic offender or because you failed to pay child support, then you won’t be eligible for an occupational license at all.
MORE:

How to get a Washington ignition interlock license

If your Washington driver’s license was suspended after a drug- or alcohol-related incident, you might be eligible for an ignition interlock license. This type of restricted license allows you to drive a vehicle equipped with a device that measures your breath alcohol content before allowing you to start your car. In order to qualify for an ignition interlock license, you must hold a valid (unexpired) driver’s license and be convicted of one of the following charges:
To see if you’re eligible for an ignition interlock license, you can
fill out a form online
or apply in person at your local licensing office. Don’t forget to include the $100 fee, or your application may be denied.

Restrictions on a Washington ignition interlock license

Drivers with an ignition interlock license are only permitted to drive a vehicle with an ignition interlock device (IID) installed. You are responsible for all costs associated with installing and maintaining the device, but if you are considered low-income and can’t afford an IID, then you may be eligible for financial assistance.
The exact length of time you will be required to use the IID is determined by the court and depends on the nature of your conviction. In general, first offenders should expect a term of at least six months to a year. But if this is your second or third conviction, you might be on the hook for as long as 10 years.
MORE:

How to find affordable car insurance in Washington

Whether you just got your learner’s license or you’re just trying to deal with the consequences of a suspended driver’s license, you’re probably facing some high car insurance payments. Teen drivers and drivers with spotty records face some of the highest insurance costs—but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a cheaper rate with a little help from
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.
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