8 June, 2023

Being arrested for reckless driving can lead to an often confusing legal process. So what is considered reckless driving? Here is everything you need to know about the types and charges for reckless driving in Washington.



Reckless Driving


What Is Reckless Driving?

Washington law defines reckless driving as “any person who drives any vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.” In this context, “willful or wanton” means the person is either acting knowingly or without sufficient regard for safety. 


What Speed Is Considered Reckless Driving?

When is it considered reckless driving when the driver is speeding, and how fast is considered reckless driving?

Although no specific speed determines whether a person was recklessly driving, prosecutors can use breaking the speed limit as evidence for a reckless driving charge.

As such, driving above the speed limit alone is not enough to support a reckless driving charge, but swerving in and out of traffic lanes while speeding can be reckless driving. Other factors that law enforcement and prosecutors will consider when determining whether a person was recklessly driving include weather conditions, traffic conditions, and overall driving patterns.


Misdemeanor Reckless Driving Charge

What is considered reckless driving for misdemeanor charges?

Reckless driving is a misdemeanor criminal offense and may result in a maximum year of jail time and a $5,000 financial penalty. The state might also suspend your license for at least 30 days if you receive a reckless driving charge. The severity of the penalty will depend on your previous criminal and driving record. 

Penalties for reckless driving are more severe if you are driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Additionally, if you have a previous reckless driving charge on your record, the courts may require you to install an ignition interlock device on your car. 

What’s Considered Reckless Driving for a Felony Charge?

In some circumstances, a reckless driver may receive a felony charge. For example, the state might charge you with a felony if you cause serious injury to persons or property or have previous infractions on your record. 


Reckless Driving License Suspension

A reckless driving conviction carries a mandatory 30-day license suspension. If you need to drive for work or school, you can apply for a restricted license that allows you to drive to select locations and functions, such as school, work, community service, healthcare appointments, AA meetings, and continuing care.

If you sustain a reckless driving charge while driving a commercial or government vehicle, you cannot apply for a restricted license. You can apply for a restricted license by filling out for SR-22 to indicate insurance coverage and the Restricted Driver License Application.  


Criminal Defense and DUI Lawyer in Seattle

What is considered reckless driving, and what should you do if charged with it?

If you face reckless driving charges, you should contact an experienced attorney. At Leyba Defense PLLC, we take a personalized approach to ensure each client gets the legal guidance they need to build a strong case. 

Fill out our contact form or call Leyba Defense PLLC today at (206) 504-3131 to schedule a consultation.