Reckless Driving-Understanding the Basics

Reckless Driving- Understanding the Basics

A few times a month we receive phone calls in the office from clients stating that they have received a speeding ticket.  After further questioning, we discover that it is not in fact a speeding ticket, it is actually a criminal charge of reckless driving.  So what is reckless driving, and how does it differ from a regular speeding infraction?

Speeding Ticket vs. Reckless Driving

A speeding ticket is a infraction given by an officer to an individual who was exceeding the posted speed limit.  Once Rick is hired for the speeding ticket, he will go to court for you, you will not need to attend the hearing, and then you will be notified by mail of the outcome.  

A reckless driving offense is a charge per the RCW 46.61.500 “Any person who drives any vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.”  A reckless driving charge is considered a criminal offense.  It is a gross misdemeanor and if found guilty of a reckless driving charge, can be punishable for up to 364 days in jail and by a fine not more than $5000.00.  Also if found guilty and convicted of a reckless driving charge, your driver’s license will be suspended 30 days.  If found guilty of a reckless driving charge, it is important to also understand that it is considered by the Washington State Department of Licensing as a major traffic offense.  You are only allowed to have 3 major traffic offenses in your lifetime.  

Who Decides?

If you have been pulled over by Washington State Patrol or sheriff, it is up to the local prosecutor to determine if you will be officially charged with a reckless driving charge.  The patrol officer will be required to submit a full and complete report to the prosecutor, and the prosecutor based on that report will decide if charges will be pressed. Once the prosecutor has determined that there is enough evidence to charge you with a reckless driving charge, you will be notified by mail of the arraignment location, date, and time.  

If you are pulled over by a local city police officer, the officer will issue a criminal citation directly to you.  Charges will be filed and printed on the criminal citation, there will be arraignment location, date and time information for your case.  You will be required to attend the arraignment.  

Making a Decision

At this point in the process, this would be where you would determine if you should hire a lawyer to help you with your criminal case.  Rick is a criminal defense attorney, and handles reckless driving cases, and once hired can help you navigate the legal process.  Rick will attend hearings with you and help you with negotiations with the prosecutors.  

Give us a Call

If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of receiving a reckless driving charge, please don’t hesitate to give Rick a call.  He is an experienced criminal defense attorney and has been handling reckless driving cases since 1992.

If you’ve just been pulled over and would like Rick to represent you - give us a call  or send us an email, we’ll get right back to you.

If you have any questions at any time throughout the process you can always call and ask the office - we are more than happy to help.

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