Reckless Driving

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.

License Suspension:

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 .