Often when people receive a citation for Reckless Driving, they think it's just a traffic ticket. However, there are serious consequences if you are convicted.
Reckless Driving in Washington state is a serious criminal offense. It is a gross-misdemeanor, meaning it is punishable by a maximum of one year in jail and a five-thousand dollar fine.
In addition to the threat of jail and fine, once convicted, your driver's license will automatically be suspended for 30 days by the Department of Licensing. Finally, if your license is suspended, you will be required to carry expensive SR-22 insurance for three years.
What constitutes Reckless Driving in Washington?
There are many ways you can receive a citation for Reckless Driving in the state of Washington. Reckless Driving is defined as "willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property." Driving behaviors that may form the basis for a Washington Reckless Driving charge include:
Driving without headlights at night
Weaving in and out of traffic
Speeding in a school zone
Causing an accident
Speeding in work zones
Although there are many reasons why you may be cited for Reckless Driving, an experienced traffic attorney such as Michael D. Sheehan can provide many plausible defenses.
Reckless Driving charges in Washington are often based solely on an officer's subjective interpretation. This interpretation is often subject to reasonable doubt or lack of evidence.
Understanding what a Reckless Driving conviction means to you.
If you plead guilty to a charge of Reckless Driving, you may face jail time. You may face a fine of up to $5,000. And your Washington driver's license will be suspended for 30 days. Further, those convicted of Reckless Driving in Washington need to obtain a high risk insurance policy before their license is reinstated. High risk, SR-22 insurance is considerably more expensive than an ordinary insurance policy.
Not only will the conviction hurt your driving privileges, it may also hurt your chance for employment. A Reckless Driving conviction is a criminal driving conviction. Potential employers who request a copy of your criminal record will be aware of your Reckless Driving conviction. Further, if you drive commercial vehicles for a living, your very livelihood may be threatened.
If you are convicted of Reckless Driving in Washington, for the next five years, you will need to be vigilant in your driving. Be cautious, because three or more serious offenses in those five years can suspend your license for up to seven more years.
What should you do if cited for Reckless Driving in Washington?
If you want to fight your Reckless Driving charge, your first step is to contact an experienced attorney who has fought and won Washington Reckless Driving cases.
Your attorney will listen to your story, look for mistakes made by the police officer, and fashion your best defense. If mistakes are found or the evidence is lacking, an attorney such as Michael D. Sheehan may successfully convince a judge or jury to acquit you, or negotiate your case with the prosecutor to a more favorable disposition.
Michael D. Sheehan is a Washington attorney who has extensive experience fighting Reckless Driving cases. He has expertise in a variety of Reckless Driving defenses, such as challenging faulty speed measuring devices (RADAR OR LIDAR readings) or challenging an officer's faulty perceptions. Further, he's been defending against Reckless Driving cases throughout Washington State for over a decade. If your Reckless Driving case proceeds to trial, you need a trial attorney with experience. Let Michael D. Sheehan fight your Reckless Case for you.