The crime of Reckless Driving is defined in
RCW 46.61.500. It is a gross misdemeanor, which means that the maximum possible sentence
is 364 days in jail, a fine of $5,000, and up to two years of probation.
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 Reckless Driving. While Reckless Driving is a gross misdemeanor
just like DUI, it is generally considered a less serious offense and has
many benefits over a DUI conviction. For example, there is no mandatory
minimum sentence that must be imposed if you are convicted of Reckless
Driving. Also, unlike DUI, a conviction of Reckless Driving will not result
in a requirement that you obtain an ignition interlock device.
* In addition, the maximum term of probation following a conviction for
Reckless Driving is two years (as compared to five years of possible probation
following a DUI conviction).
* New legislation provides that, if you have one more “prior offenses”
within 7 years, a Reckless Driving 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.
A conviction of Reckless Driving will cause the Department of Licensing
to suspend your license for 30 days. To get your license back, you will
be required to pay a reissue fee and to file and maintain
proof of financial responsibility (SR-22) for three years.
During your license suspension, you will be eligible to apply for an Occupational
Restricted License which can allow you to drive to work, school, and a
number of other locations.
If you or a family member have been charged with DUI or Reckless Driving,
call Baumgarten Law Office for a free consultation