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Reckless driving is typically considered a reduction and a lesser charge than DUI. There are many benefits to having a DUI case reduced to a charge of reckless driving. Many people consider a reduction to reckless driving a great result for their case.
A reckless driving conviction does not require any mandatory jail, fines, or an ignition interlock requirement on a first offense in seven years - although a judge has the discretion to impose such a sentence. If your DUI charge is amended to reckless driving and you are later convicted of another DUI / DWI or related charge, then the reckless driving may count as a “prior” and be used against you to enhance the mandatory minimum penalties on the new conviction.
What happens if I have been convicted of reckless driving?
A reckless driving conviction does carry a mandatory 30 day license suspension. If you have previously lost your license because of the DOL process, you will not need to serve any more license suspension time. If you have not lost your license, you will need to serve the 30 days. You can drive during the 30 days with either an ignition interlock license or an occupational restricted license.
If you are not a U.S. citizen, a reckless driving conviction may have serious adverse affects on your immigration status in the United States. We recommend consulting with an immigration attorney before pleading guilty to any crime if you are not a U.S. Citizen.
Reckless driving -- Penalty.
(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 for up to three hundred sixty-four days and by a fine of not more than five thousand dollars.
(2)(a) Subject to (b) of this subsection, the license or permit to drive or any nonresident privilege of any person convicted of reckless driving shall be suspended by the department for not less than thirty days.
(b) When a reckless driving conviction is a result of a charge that was originally filed as a violation of RCW 46.61.502 or 46.61.504, or an equivalent local ordinance, the department shall grant credit on a day-for-day basis for any portion of a suspension, revocation, or denial already served under an administrative action arising out of the same incident. During any period of suspension, revocation, or denial due to a conviction for reckless driving as the result of a charge originally filed as a violation of RCW 46.61.502 or 46.61.504, any person who has obtained an ignition interlock driver's license under RCW 46.20.385 may continue to drive a motor vehicle pursuant to the provision of the ignition interlock driver's license without obtaining a separate temporary restricted driver's license under RCW 46.20.391.
(3)(a) Except as provided under (b) of this subsection, a person convicted of reckless driving who has one or more prior offenses as defined in RCW 46.61.5055(14) within seven years shall be required, under RCW 46.20.720, to install an ignition interlock device on all vehicles operated by the person if the conviction is the result of a charge that was originally filed as a violation of RCW 46.61.502, 46.61.504, or an equivalent local ordinance.
(b) A person convicted of reckless driving shall be required, under RCW 46.20.720, to install an ignition interlock device on all vehicles operated by the person if the conviction is the result of a charge that was originally filed as a violation of RCW 46.61.520 committed while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug or RCW 46.61.522 committed while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug.