Reckless Driving

Reckless driving is a crime that has a few "faces." By definition, this crime is committed when you drive a motor vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.

Reckless Driving — Penalty

RCW 46.61.500

Reckless driving is a gross misdemeanor punishable by a jail term up to 365 days and/or a fine up to $5,000.00. Also, upon the conviction, your license or your non-resident privilege to drive in Washington must be suspended by the department for 30 days.

Depending on the facts and circumstances, a charge of DUI can be reduced to this crime which has some obvious advantages and these should be discussed with experienced counsel.

Reckless Driving can also be committed by non-alcohol related facts and circumstances such as excessive speeding (25 mph above the posted limit), weaving in and out of traffic, and there is even a special section of the statute dedicated to racing.

Reckless Driving Conviction With Prior(s)

A reckless driving conviction as reduced from a DUI or Physical Control charge when there is a prior DUI or Physical Control conviction within 7 years requires a mandatory sentence of a 6 month Ignition Interlock Device (IID) requirement. This restriction remains in effect until IID vendor certifies to the DoL that none of the following incidents occurred within four months before date of release:

  • An attempt to start the vehicle with a BAC of .04 or more;
  • Failure to take or pass any required retest;
  • Failure of the person to appear at the IID vendor when required;
  • DoL will give day-for-day credit as allowed by law.

Regardless of the underlying facts, a conviction for this crime has serious consequences to your freedom, insurance rates, the ability to drive, your immigration status in the United States, and even your ability to enter into other countries. While there are methods of driving on a "restricted" (Occupational/Restricted Driver's License) basis during this suspension this is a crime that will impact your insurance. Preservation of your freedom and ability to drive will rest in the hands of your lawyer so it is important to interview as many lawyers as possible so that you are comfortable and choose well.