Negligent Driving

There are two degrees of Negligent Driving in the State of Washington. Negligent Driving in the First Degree is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in jail, a fine of $1,000, and up to two years of probation. Negligent Driving in the Second Degree is a traffic infraction.

The crime of Negligent Driving in the First Degree is defined in RCW 46.61.5249.

As an Amendment from DUI or Physical Control:

If the facts and legal issues justify it, the prosecutor may agree to "reduce" a DUI charge to Negligent Driving in the First Degree. For a number of reasons, this is generally considered a favorable result in a DUI case. Unlike DUI, which is a gross misdemeanor offense, the crime of Negligent Driving in the First Degree is a misdemeanor – meaning that the maximum sentence is only 90 days in jail, a fine of $5,000, and up to two years of probation. In addition, there is no mandatory minimum sentence that must be imposed if you are convicted of Negligent Driving in the First Degree. Also, unlike DUI, a conviction of Negligent Driving in the First Degree will not result in a requirement that you obtain an ignition interlock device. *

* New legislation provides that, if you have one more "prior offenses" within 7 years, a Negligent Driving in the First Degree conviction will result in a 6-month Ignition Interlock Requirement.

A "prior offense" is any of the following:

  • An original conviction for DUI, Physical Control, Vehicular Assault (DUI), or Vehicular Homicide (DUI).
  • An amended conviction of Reckless Driving, Reckless Endangerment, or Negligent Driving in the First Degree if amended from an original charge of DUI, Physical Control, Vehicular Homicide, or Vehicular Assault.
  • A Deferred Prosecution – even if successfully completed – for a DUI or Physical Control charge.

If you or a family member have been charged with DUI or Negligent Driving in the First Degree, call Baumgarten Law Office for a free consultation.