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Why people fight reckless driving charges in Washington

On Behalf of | Feb 13, 2023 | Criminal Defense

People too often treat traffic offenses like they don’t really matter. The average adult in Washington will admit to violating traffic laws on a regular basis. Many people habitually exceed the posted speed limit, drive while under the influence and run red lights when there isn’t any oncoming traffic.

Sometimes, these actions result in a stop conducted by law enforcement. Occasionally, rather than being issued a speeding ticket or simple citation, the driver will find themselves accused of reckless driving. If reckless driving behavior is so common, why would Washington motorists want to take the time to fight back against allegations of reckless driving?

Reckless driving is a criminal offense

If you plead guilty to allegations of reckless driving, you will have a criminal record. Reckless driving is a gross misdemeanor, which means it could lead to up to a year in state custody and $5,000 in fines. The state will also suspend an offender’s driver’s license for 30 days after a guilty plea or conviction.

A driver convicted of reckless driving will find that their insurance costs increase, and they may even need to buy a special high-risk policy. As if that weren’t bad enough, two other major moving violations in the next five years will lead the state to declare an offender a Habitual Traffic Offender, which can cost them their license and increase their insurance costs.

That is obviously far more serious than a blemish on your traffic record resulting from a paid ticket. Even when a stop leads to just a ticket, many people find fighting their tickets to be worthwhile when the situation is questionable.

Reckless driving could affect your career

There is a lot of discretion involved in reckless driving cases, and much is left to the interpretation of the officer involved and the prosecutor. It may be possible for you to challenge their version of events or provide a compelling explanation.

Especially if you work in a transportation-related field, know that major traffic infractions could damage your career. Some people work for companies that have zero-tolerance policies regarding criminal convictions, and even if it doesn’t cost you your job, it could very well still be the reason you struggle to obtain promotions and raises in the future.

Mounting a defense against allegations of reckless driving may help you to avoid criminal penalties, a criminal record and numerous secondary consequences, like increased insurance costs. As a result, making this effort is well worth your time and energy.