Reckless Driving is a serious traffic crime in the State of Washington, but the crime is not classified as a felony. Reckless Driving is a gross misdemeanor which carries a maximum penalty of 365 days in jail and a $5,000 fine. Washington also imposes a mandatory driver’s license suspension for every conviction. Each conviction will trigger a 30 day driver’s license suspension, but during this suspension an individual may qualify for a temporary restricted license. An individual can re-state their privilege to drive after the suspension period. However, the Department of Licensing will require proof of SR-22 high risk insurance. The SR-22 insurance must be in place for three years. SR-22 insurance can double or triple your current insurance rates.
This is why it is essential to retain an experienced attorney to protect your legal interests in court. Contact us for a free legal consultation to discuss your criminal case.
Reckless Driving Prosecution
In order for the government to obtain a conviction the prosecution must prove Reckless Driving under one of two theories. The prosecutor can charge that the driver operated a motor vehicle with willful or wanton disregard of persons or property. A prosecuting agency can also charge Reckless under a street racing prong. Street racing usually can be established when two or more vehicles are barreling down a roadway at excessive speeds while jockeying for position. Police officers occasionally note that the suspect vehicles were revving their engines at a traffic control signal prior to accelerating.
Washington DUI Plea Bargain
Reckless Driving is frequently used in DUI plea bargaining. Both DUI and Reckless Driving are gross misdemeanors carrying the same maximum penalties. However, the benefits of escaping a DUI conviction and accepting the plea bargain of the reduced criminal charge heavily outweigh risking a trial.
Reckless does not have a mandatory jail term or a mandatory fine like the DUI penalties. The probation period for Reckless Driving is only two years versus DUI’s five year probationary period. A DUI conviction will prevent a non-Canadian citizen from entering Canada, and it is very possible a Reckless Driving conviction will trigger that ban as well. Ignition Interlock Device is also not mandatory with a Reckless conviction. Accepting a guilty plea to the lesser charge of Reckless avoids significant pain and monetary damage.