Speeding is a very dangerous driving practice that directly contributed to deaths of 9,478 in 2019.
While speeding may seem harmless to many drivers and helps them make their appointments on time, the consequences of speeding can be dire. Not only does this driving practice endanger others on the road, it also places the speeding driver at significant risk for huge traffic fines, injury, and even death.
Can You Get a Felony For Speeding?
The act of speeding in and of itself is not considered a felony in Washington State. The closest thing to a felony that a driver may incur due to speeding is a reckless driving charge — though this is only considered a gross misdemeanor.
Reckless driving is defined under RCW 46.61.500 in the following way, any person who drives any vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.
Drivers can however, face felony charges for speeding when other factors are present, such as the injury or death of another driver or severe property damage.
When Is Speeding a Felony?
How much over the speed limit is a felony? When does speeding change from something that is perceived as harmless into a speeding felony?
When it comes to how fast over the speed limit is a felony, this depends on a multitude of factors.
While most speeding violations are considered to be minor offenses and result merely in a fine for the driver, severe traffic violations can be classified as felonies.
So, can speeding be a felony?
Very specific situations result in speeding turning into a felony charge, For example, if a driver is speeding and this results in vehicular manslaughter (whether intentional or unintentional), this will likely result in a felony.
Other types of speeding which could result in felony charges include:
- When a driver is speeding while under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI) and it is their second or third DUI conviction.
- When a driver is engaging in reckless driving at a high speed, such as in the case of road racing.
- When a driver attempts to leave the scene of a collision in which they were involved (hit and run), especially where bodily injury was sustained by the other driver.
- When a driver attempts to flee from law enforcement at high speeds.
So when does speeding become a felony?
Answer: when it is done in conjunction with other unsafe driving practices, such as the ones listed above.
What to Do if You Are Facing Significant Speeding Charges
If you are facing significant speeding charges, it’s paramount that you enlist the help of a qualified traffic attorney.
Speeding charges that amount to felonies are extremely debilitating due to long-term ramifications as well as significant legal burdens.
Rather than face the long-term consequences of a significant traffic violation, get legal representation on your side so that you can contest or seek to have your penalty reduced.
Get in touch with Leyba Defense to schedule an hour-long consultation with veteran traffic attorney, Matthew Leyba.
Matthew Leyba has been working in Washington State traffic law for more than a decade and during that time has amassed both experience and reputation. To get the best representation and defense possible, get in touch with Leyba Defense today.