Yelm Reckless Driving

Have You Been Charged With Reckless Driving in Yelm?

Were you caught talking on your cellphone while driving? Maybe you were eating a burrito and missed stopping at a red light? Perhaps your teenager got pulled over for reenacting scenes from The Fast and the Furious?

What you might consider a relatively harmless bit of rule-breaking is actually a pretty serious criminal offense in the eyes of the government. Reckless driving is a criminal offense under Washington state law, and it is surprisingly easy to get charged with reckless driving.

Addressing a reckless driving charge, including both the criminal and administrative fallout, will require using legal counsel to address the pending criminal charges. This isn’t a simple traffic ticket that you can pay for and forget about. It is important that you understand the seriousness of this charge. Handling a case like this by yourself can result not only in your conviction but also in stiffer punishments.

Our team of Thurston County reckless driving attorneys represents those charged with serious traffic offenses in a state with some of the nation’s toughest traffic laws. You don’t need to settle for a guilty plea, we will go to trial for you and work tirelessly for a not guilty verdict. We understand the stress you are under. Being charged with a crime can take an emotional toll on you and your family. It can be confusing, and you may find yourself with questions like

  • Will I go to jail if I am convicted of reckless driving in Thurston County?
  • Do I need to go to court for a reckless driving charge in Yelm?
  • Can I handle this myself or do I need to hire a Thurston County reckless driving attorney?
  • What is considered reckless driving in Washington state?

We are here to provide you with answers to all of your questions in addition to implementing a top-notch defense for your charges. This website is designed to answer some of your general questions about reckless driving charges. To get into the specifics of your case, we recommend contacting our firm directly. We offer a free case consultation for all prospective clients. Reach out to our team of qualified Yelm criminal defense attorneys today so we can evaluate your specific situation and advise you of the best legal options.

What is Considered Reckless Driving in Thurston County?

The law is very subjective 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.”

Common examples of reckless driving actions include:

  • Speeding – Driving over the posted speed limit could lead to a reckless driving charge. Generally, this is charged when a driver is excessively over the limit, but again, determining whether you were just speeding or recklessly speeding is at the discretion of the law enforcement officer who pulled you over.
  • 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 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.
  • Stunts on public roads – Cars making donuts or motorcyclists doing wheelies on public roads are considered stunts are considered reckless actions.
How Serious Are Reckless Driving Charges in Thurston County?

Many people believe that reckless driving is nothing more than a serious traffic ticket, however, the consequences can be far more damaging than just a simple slap on the wrist.

Reckless driving is charged as a gross misdemeanor. Punishable by up to 364 days in jail and/or a fine up to $5,000, if an officer accuses you of reckless driving, you won’t simply be issued a citation and allowed to drive away, you will be arrested.

Other consequences of a reckless driving conviction include a mandatory 30-day license suspension. To get your license reinstated after suspension, the Department of Licensing (DOL) requires all drivers involved in a moving violation have proof of compliance with the SR-22 laws for a period of up to three years.

What are SR-22 laws? You may have heard of SR-22 as a form of insurance, but that’s not entirely accurate. It is actually a certificate filed with the DOL that states that a driver has the appropriate liability insurance coverage by an insurer licensed to do business within the state of Washington.

The cost of SR-22 insurance is much higher than a standard insurance policy. Some providers may decide not to provide you coverage if you need an S2-22 since you’re considered “high risk.” Another thing to consider is that if your SR-22 coverage lapses for any reason during the three years after getting your license reinstated, the clock resets. That means if you miss one payment and your coverage lapses, you have to begin the three years of compliance all over again.

Cases involving reckless driving are adjudicated in either the Yelm Municipal Court or the Thurston County District Court. Which court you will need to appear in is dependent upon many factors, including the location of the alleged crime.

We believe that if you made a mistake - you were talking on the phone, adjusting the radio or GPS, drinking a cup of coffee, and momentarily lost control of your car, you deserve a second chance. Contact our Yelm criminal defense attorneys today for a no-cost case consultation. Whether you are facing a reckless driving charge or a different criminal charge, we can help.

Do You Need a Yelm Criminal Defense Attorney to Fight Reckless Driving Charges?

A reckless driving charge is quite subjective. Since judges and juries often believe police officers are telling the truth as opposed to defendants, hiring an experienced Thurston County criminal defense attorney is of utmost importance.

When you’ve been charged with a crime, the full weight and resources of the government are being marshaled against you with the goal of convicting you of a crime and imposing penalties on you. You need someone who understands how the criminal justice system works, what options are available to you, and which of those options is best for you in your particular situation.

Our team of Yelm criminal defense attorneys has over 50 combined years of experience handling cases like yours. Each case is unique, so defense strategies will depend on the exact nature of the circumstances of your charge. Contact our firm today to discuss your case. During your free case consultation, we will be able to give you a good idea of some defensive strategies and what the chances of a successful outcome may be.

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