When it comes to reckless driving Washington State law is very strict. While it is only a misdemeanor, it can have significant consequences for you and your ability to drive, in the short term and far into the future.
Of reckless driving Washington law, RCW 46.61.500 says:
(1) Any person who drives any vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving. Violation of the provisions of this section is a gross misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment of not more than one year and by a fine of not more than five thousand dollars.
Washington Reckless Driving Jail and Fines
For reckless driving Washington state gives judges a lot of discretion in deciding jail sentences. They can vary depending on your criminal history and the facts of your case. Unlike DUI, for reckless driving Washington State does not impose mandatory minimum jail terms, so community service, work crew, and electronic home detention are all alternatives if you are convicted of reckless driving.
On a conviction for reckless driving Washington doesn’t impose mandatory fines (unlike for a DUI). However, there are mandatory costs and fees that come along with any criminal conviction in Washington State. After a reckless driving conviction, you can expect the fines, costs, and fees to add up to $500-$1000.
Perhaps the biggest consequence of reckless driving Washington State imposes a licenses suspension. A reckless driving conviction will result in the suspension of your drivers license for 30 days. This is imposed by the Department of Licensing and is a mandatory penalty.
You are eligible to drive during the 30 day license suspension with an occupational license, but there are restrictions (Time of day, where you can drive, and the purpose of your driving are all limited). You will also have to have SR-22 insurance and pay an application fee to DOL. The application can be found here.
After the 30 day suspension is over, you also have to reinstate your driving privileges. In order to do that, you will be required to pay a $150 reinstatement fee to the DOL as well as carry SR-22 insurance for three years from the date you are eligible to reinstate.
For those that find themselves with multiple reckless driving convictions, or some combination of DUI, reckless driving and/or other driving offenses, a reckless driving conviction carries with it the possibility of being deemed a Washington State habitual traffic offender (HTO) and a 7 year license suspension.
For CDL-holders, the consequences of even one reckless driving conviction can be severe. Depending on your previous driving record, a reckless driving conviction in Washington will suspend your CDL for 30, 60, or 120 days. The statute can be found at RCW 46.25.090.
Given the ramifications of a reckless driving conviction, you should speak with an attorney about all of the consequences if you are facing such a charge.