Bonney Lake Reckless Driving Defense Attorney

A joy ride can quickly turn into a nightmare when you see those flashing lights in your rearview mirror.

Your driving record is extremely valuable, and most people don’t realize how easy it is to jeopardize it by reckless driving.

If you or a loved one have been charged with reckless driving in Bonney Lake, there may be some potentially harsh punishment ahead of you, including license suspension, fines, and even possible jail time.

If you’re visiting this website, you’re probably seeking an attorney for a Pierce County reckless driving charge. You need an attorney that understands your options and will work with you to negotiate a plea that minimizes the level of punishment or that is willing to take your case to trial.

With over 50 combined years of experience handling criminal cases in Washington state, our Bonney Lake defense attorneys have the knowledge and credentials you need to achieve the best outcome for your possible case. Our team of legal professionals has designed this website to provide basic knowledge regarding reckless driving laws in Pierce County, however, it is not intended to constitute legal advice. For personalized, professional legal counsel, please contact our firm. We offer a no-cost case evaluation for each prospective client.

During your consultation, we encourage you to ask any questions you may have about reckless driving charges in Bonney Lake, such as

  • How serious are reckless driving charges in Pierce County?
  • Do I need a lawyer if I’ve been charged with reckless driving in Bonney Lake?
  • Will I go to jail if convicted of reckless driving in Pierce County?
  • What is considered reckless driving in Washington state?

Reckless driving charges may make you feel confused and stressed. Do yourself a favor and contact our Bonney Lake reckless driving defense attorneys. No one should have to face criminal charges without an experienced Pierce County criminal defense attorney on their side.

Reckless Driving Law Explained by a Bonney Lake Criminal Defense Lawyer

The most important thing to know about reckless driving laws in Pierce County is that the law is very vague about what driving behavior constitutes reckless driving, and it’s often left up to the discretion of the arresting officer as to what crime you’ve allegedly committed.

Washington state statute RCW 46.61.500 defines reckless driving as
“(1) Any person who drives any vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property”

If that seems rather vague to you, that’s because it is, purposefully. The important words to pay attention to in this statute are “willful” and “wanton.” Willful is defined as “acting intentionally and purposely, and not accidentally or inadvertently.” Wanton is defined as “acting intentionally in heedless disregard of the consequences.”

Basically what it boils down to if you’ve been pulled over and charged with reckless driving is that the arresting officer felt that whatever you were doing while driving was something that you knew could cause harm to others on the road.

Common Examples of Reckless Driving in Pierce County
  • Speeding- Most law enforcement officers write speeding tickets if you’ve been pulled over for going 40 in a 35 mph zone. Generally, this reckless driving is charged when a driver is excessively over the limit- say, if you were going 110 in a 45 mph zone, but determining whether you were just speeding or recklessly speeding is at the discretion of the law enforcement officer who pulled you over.
  • Passing a Stopped School Bus - Many people are unsure of the laws surrounding if and when they have to stop for a slowing or stopped school bus. You may be charged with reckless driving if an officer of the law catches you attempting to pass a school bus once they have their stop signals engaged.
  • Aggressive driving- Also known as road rage, driving in an aggressive manner (e.g. weaving in and out of traffic, tailgating, or trying to run another driver off the road) that endangers someone else could result in a reckless driving charge.
  • Ignoring traffic signals and signs- Running red lights and ignoring stop signs (e.g. coming to a “rolling stop”) endangers pedestrians and other drivers. This is one of the most common citations for reckless driving.
  • Racing- Street racing on public roads risks the lives of both participants and innocent bystanders, resulting in injuries and fatalities. Pierce County prosecutors tend to pursue aggressive punishment if you’ve been ticketed for street racing.
  • Stunts on public roads- Cars making donuts or motorcyclists doing wheelies on public roads are considered stunts and can lead to reckless driving charges.
Penalties if Convicted of Reckless Driving in Bonney Lake

Most gross misdemeanor charges incurred in Bonney Lake will require a court appearance. If you have been charged with reckless driving in Pierce County, all gross misdemeanor charges are adjudicated at the Pierce County District Court, which is located in Tacoma.

The consequences of a conviction can be severe and long-term. Reckless driving is charged as a gross misdemeanor in Pierce County, with penalties for a conviction including up to a $5,000 fine and/or up to 364 days in jail.

In addition to the above penalties, a conviction for reckless driving in Bonney Lake also results in a mandatory driver's license suspension of 30 days. To get your license reinstated after suspension, the Department of Licensing (DOL) requires all drivers involved in a moving violation (such as reckless driving) have proof of compliance with the SR-22 laws for a period of up to three years.

SR-22 is not an actual "type" of insurance, but a form filed with the state of Washington. This form serves as proof your auto insurance policy meets the minimum liability coverage required by state law. Basically, it’s a legal document that says you have a way to pay for any damages you may cause while driving. The cost of carrying SR-22 insurance can double or even triple your insurance premiums.

If you’re considering not hiring a lawyer to contest a reckless driving charge in Bonney Lake, we urge you to reconsider. As you can see from the information we laid out above, on top of the penalties ordered by the court, a conviction can cause significant financial harm. What’s more, if you work in an industry that requires you to drive as part of your job, your employer may fire you due to a suspended license or increases in the cost of their liability insurance. In the long run, you may save money by fighting this charge with the help of an experienced Bonney Lake criminal defense attorney.

How a Bonney Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help With Reckless Driving Charges

If you or a loved one have been charged with reckless driving in Pierce County, the State bears the burden of proving that you, the driver, were aware that your actions could cause substantial harm and that you were indifferent to that risk. It is important to have an experienced Bonney Lake reckless driving defense attorney by your side during these cases, as a conviction can have severe consequences on your license and your life.

The specifics of your case are what’s important, which is why we offer a free case consultation to each prospective client. It’s not uncommon for the officer that issued you a ticket to make procedural mistakes, and the process followed by the officer both during and after the stop is critical to your defense. Hearing the facts of your case, from you, will help our team of Pierce County legal professionals be able to start formulating the best defense for your charges.

Contact our firm today if you have any questions about Washington state’s reckless driving laws.

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