What Constitutes Negligent Driving in Washington?

By Law Office of Lance R. Fryrear

Negligent driving is a traffic and/ or criminal offense in the state of Washington that can result in serious penalties. This type of offense is split up into two different degrees of severity. If you are facing first degree negligent driving charges, you are looking at criminal charges. Second degree negligent driving in Washington is a serious traffic infraction, but not a criminal offense. The determination of the degree of offense has to do with the involvement of alcohol or drugs in the case. More details on these two offenses include:

  1. First Degree Negligent Driving (RCW 46.61.5249): operating a motor vehicle in a negligent manner than endangers or is likely to endanger another individual or property, plus exhibiting effects of alcohol or drug consumption.
  2. Second Degree Negligent Driving (RCW 46.61.525): operating a motor vehicle in a negligent manner that endangers or is likely to endanger another individual or property.

In these cases, negligent refers to not exercising ordinary care. This means acting in a way that a reasonably careful person would not if they were in the same situation or not doing something that a reasonable careful person would do in the same situation. In order to be charged with this offense it must be proven that the driver was acting negligently and endangering or likely to endanger others and/ or property. First degree negligent driving is a misdemeanor offense punishable by jail time for up to 90 days and a fine of up to $1,000. Second degree negligent driving is a traffic infraction punishable by a fine of up to $250. To fight against your charges and avoid these penalties, team up with a Lynnwood negligent driving attorney from my firm. Contact the Law Offices of Lance Fryrear to have a former prosecutor and experienced criminal lawyer on your side!

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