Reckless driving and reckless endangerment

King County Defense Lawyer

Reckless driving and reckless endangerment

In Washington state, reckless driving is a serious traffic offense, not just a simple ticket. Reckless driving is driving a vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property. It is a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a fine of up to $5,000. On conviction, the Department of Licensing will suspend your license for not less than 30 days. To reinstate your license, you will have to get expensive SR-22 insurance for three years and pay a fee.

Drivers often want to know if exceeding the speed limit by any particular amount is reckless driving. Speeding is “prima facie” evidence of reckless driving, which means you could be arrested for reckless driving if you are exceeding the speed limit by any amount. However, most speeding drivers are given a speeding ticket, which is an infraction. Punishment for an infraction is a fine.

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The police officer makes the judgment of whether to write a speeding ticket or arrest a driver for reckless driving. If you are driving only a little over the speed limit, you will probably get a speeding ticket. But if you are traveling far over the speed limit, the officer may well decide to cite you for reckless driving. In addition to speed, the officer will consider all factors, such as weather, road conditions, location, and the presence of pedestrians, children, and bicyclists who would be at risk for injury.

If the officer cites you for reckless driving, it’s up to the prosecutor to decide whether to proceed with the charge after reviewing the police report. To get a conviction, the prosecutor will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that your driving showed a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.

Reckless driving may be the only offense you are charged with or it may be an additional charge along with a DUI. Sometimes the prosecutor will offer to reduce a DUI to reckless driving. The offer may be a desirable way to resolve a DUI because, unlike a DUI, reckless driving does not include any mandatory jail time. However, if you later have another DUI, an earlier DUI that was reduced to reckless driving can count as a prior offense that will enhance the penalties that could be imposed on you.

A reckless driving conviction counts as a major moving violation under the Habitual Offender Law. Three or more major moving violations within a five year period results in a lengthy license revocation.

Reckless endangerment

A person is guilty of reckless endangerment when he or she recklessly engages in conduct that creates a substantial risk of death or serious physical injury to another person. Like reckless driving, reckless endangerment is a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.

Reckless endangerment is not a driving offense, but it is related to other driving offenses. For example, it is often charged in addition to DUI when the driver had children in the car. Like reckless driving, reckless endangerment may be offered as a plea to someone charged with DUI. A reckless endangerment plea has the advantage of no mandatory jail time and, unlike reckless driving, no license suspension.

A King County defense lawyer can advise you of whether reduction of your DUI charge to reckless driving or reckless endangerment may be a possibility and whether accepting such an offer from the prosecution is advisable considering the facts of your particular case.

An experienced King County defense lawyer can assist with your DUI, reckless driving or other driving offense

If you have been charged with reckless driving, reckless endangerment, or DUI, our attorney is available to help. Our attorney takes great pride in offering the very best defense to every individual regardless of economic status. Her low overhead allows her to keep fees low; but it does not mean you will receive sub standard representation. To the contrary, you will receive personal attention and you won’t have to deal with a different attorney every time you are in court.

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For legal issues, I recommend lawyer David Ionson.