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Charged with Reckless Driving? Our Lawyers Can Help.

You might think that reckless driving isn’t a big deal. In reality, it can tarnish your record, suspend your license, and cause your insurance premiums to increase. It’s important to take reckless driving charges seriously and work with a reckless driving defense attorney from Emerald City Law Group from the beginning. Our Seattle defense lawyers understand Washington’s reckless driving laws and know how to avoid the harshest penalties.

From keeping your license to avoiding time behind bars, contact Emerald City Law Group for an unmatched reckless driving defense.

Based in Seattle, We Assist People Across Washington and Offer Virtual Consultations. Initial Consults are Free, Confidential, and We’re Available 24/7 to Answer Your Questions.

Seattle Reckless Driving Charges

According to Washington Revised Code (WRC) Section 46.61.500, reckless driving is the willful or wonton disregard for the safety of a person or property while driving a vehicle.

Some behaviors on the road that can result in charges of reckless driving include:

  • Excessive Speeding
  • Street Racing
  • Evading Police
  • Aggressive Driving
  • Ignoring Traffic Signs
  • Passing in a No-Passing Zone
  • Driving on Sidewalks or Pedestrian Areas
  • Performing Stunts on Public Roads
  • Driving with Intentional Distraction
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Reckless Driving in Washington: What to Know

Reckless driving is a gross misdemeanor in Washington. Even though it’s not as serious as a felony, you face serious penalties that will impact virtually every aspect of your life.

Reckless Driving Penalties in Washington

If you are convicted of reckless driving in Washington, you will face:

  • Up to 364 days in jail
  • Up to $5,000 fine
  • Mandatory license suspension of at least 30 days

You may also be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in every vehicle you drive if your reckless driving conviction is part of a DUI plea agreement. An IID is a device that measures your blood alcohol content (BAC) and will not allow you to operate your vehicle if you are intoxicated.

Collateral Impact of Reckless Driving

In addition to the criminal penalties for reckless driving, you may deal with:

  • Increased auto insurance premiums (requirement to get SR-22 high-risk insurance for 3 years)
  • Loss of employment
  • Impact on your immigration status, including deportation

Dealing with Reckless Driving Charges in WA

When suspected of reckless driving, a police officer will pull you over to conduct an investigation. This may entail a series of questions, including checking your driver’s license and registration.

You may be arrested if the officer gathers enough evidence suggesting you’ve engaged in reckless driving. After being arrested, you’ll undergo booking, where your fingerprints, personal info, and photographs are taken. You might be released on bail or your own recognizance, promising to appear in court without a financial deposit.

The charges are read at your arraignment and you’ll plead guilty or not guilty. Thorough investigation and negotiation by your criminal defense lawyer can result in dismissal, a reduced sentence, or an amendment to a lesser charge. Sentencing varies based on your negotiated plea or trial outcome, ranging from fines to incarceration.

The exact process may differ by jurisdiction and specifics of the offense, but this sequence outlines the typical course of events following a reckless driving charge.

Defending Against Reckless Driving

Defending against reckless driving charges in Washington can be a complex process and having an experienced criminal defense attorney is important. Here are some defenses that may be available in a reckless driving situation:

  • You were not driving recklessly. To be convicted of reckless driving, the prosecution must prove that you were driving with a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property. This means that you must have been aware of the danger your actions were creating and that you chose to disregard that danger.
  • You were not driving dangerously. Various factors that may be considered in determining whether you were driving recklessly include weaving in and out of traffic, tailgating, or cutting off other drivers. If you were not driving dangerously, this may help to show that you were not driving recklessly.
  • Alternative Reckless Driving Punishments

    If you are charged with reckless driving, you may be able to avoid the harshest penalties and seek alternative punishments instead.

    As part of your plea deal, you may be able to take a defensive driving course or serve time with an Electronic Home Monitor (EHM) instead of time in jail. Your reckless driving attorney can help you understand your potential options.

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Washington Reckless Driving Info & Resources

Our reckless driving attorneys can help you navigate a gross misdemeanor case. We have information that can help you understand your charges and options. If you have additional questions, contact Emerald City Law Group immediately.

Can I Be Arrested for Reckless Driving in Washington?

Yes, a person can be arrested for reckless driving if the officer believes there is sufficient evidence of driving with willful or wanton disregard for the safety of people or property.

Can I Lose My License for Reckless Driving?

Yes, a reckless driving conviction can result in license suspension for a period determined by the court and the Department of Licensing.

Will a Reckless Driving Conviction Affect My Insurance?

A reckless driving conviction results in higher auto insurance premiums, as insurers view it as an indicator of risky driving behavior. The Department of Licensing will require a driver convicted of Reckless Driving to have SR-22 high risk insurance for 3 years. SR-22 insurance can be very expensive.

Can Reckless Driving be Reduced?

In some cases, reckless driving may be reduced to a lesser offense, like negligent driving, which carries lighter penalties. However, this depends on the specifics, evidentiary concerns, the negotiation, and the discretion of the prosecutor.

: What Should I Do If I’m Pulled Over for Reckless Driving?

Being pulled over for reckless driving can be a stressful and confusing experience. However, it’s essential to stay calm and cooperative with the police officer to protect your rights and avoid further charges.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on what to do if you’re pulled over for reckless driving:

  1. Pull over safely. When you see the police lights behind you, activate your turn signals and gradually slow down. Find a safe place to pull over, such as a wide shoulder or designated parking area. Turn off your engine and keep your hands visible inside the vehicle.
  2. Be polite and cooperative. When the officer approaches, greet them politely and remain calm. Do not make any sudden movements or reach for anything without the officer’s permission. When requested, provide your driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance.
  3. Exercise your right to remain silent. You have the right to remain silent and not answer questions beyond providing your identification and proof of insurance. Politely inform the officer that you are exercising your right to remain silent and would like to speak with a reckless driving attorney before answering further questions.
  4. Avoid admitting guilt or making excuses. Do not admit to any wrongdoing or make excuses for your driving. Even if you believe you were not driving recklessly, avoid discussing the details of the incident with the officer. Simply state that you are invoking your right to remain silent and would like to speak with an attorney.
  5. Do not argue with the officer. Arguing with the officer will only escalate the situation and could lead to additional charges. If you disagree with their assessment of the situation, calmly state that you would like to speak with an attorney and will address the issue through legal channels.
  6. Keep a record of the incident. Take notes or record the interaction with the officer on your phone if possible. This can be helpful if you need to defend yourself in court later.
  7. Contact a reckless driving attorney. Call an experienced attorney at Emerald City Law Group as soon as possible. They can review the details of your case and advise you on the best course of action.

Don’t Wait. Call Our Seattle Reckless Driving Lawyers

Contact a reckless driving defense attorney with Emerald City Law Group as soon as possible. We understand you might not have the opportunity to call us right away. You can have a friend or family member to call Emerald City Law Group. We will help them understand the legal process and get you out of jail.

Emerald City Law Group Will:

  • Listen to your situation and thoroughly investigate your case.
  • Negotiate to get you the best possible result.
  • Work to get your case dismissed and evidence suppressed.
  • Challenge the prosecution’s evidence and witnesses.
  • Communicate with you about the progress of your case.
  • Recommend that you address any issues proactively.

Reckless Driving Defense Attorneys Serving WA – Free Consults 24/7

Emerald City Law Group provides Seattle and the greater Washington area with high-caliber legal representation for those facing reckless driving accusations.

Seattle – Local Areas Served

  • King County – Bellevue, Auburn, Kent, Renton, Federal Way, Kirkland, Redmond, Bothell, Carnation, Duvall, Issaquah, Maple Valley, Mercer Island, Sammamish, Seattle, & Woodinville
  • Snohomish County – Everett, Lynnwood, and Marysville.
  • Pierce County – Tacoma, Puyallup, Gig Harbor, and Lakewood

Greater Washington

  • Grays Harbor
  • Kittitas County
  • Spokane County
  • Cowlitz County
  • Douglas County
  • Mason County
  • Skagit County
  • Thurston County
  • Island County
  • Mason County
  • Grays County
  • Kitsap County
  • Lewis County
  • Whatcom County
  • Whitman County
  • San Juan County