Here are some of the more common State of Washington criminal traffic charges that we represent clients on.
Driving on a suspended or revoked license (DWLS)
This is probably the most common of all criminal traffic offenses. Three levels of this offense are detailed. DWLS in the third degree is a misdemeanor that often involves a person who didn’t pay a previous traffic citation or didn’t provide appropriate proof of insurance with the Washington Department of Licensing when required to do so. DWLS in the second degree is a gross misdemeanor that involves driving during a suspension or revocation when the driver wasn’t yet eligible for reinstatement. DWLS in the first degree will be charged when the driver is found to be operating a motor vehicle after a license revocation pursuant to Washington’s Habitual Traffic Offenders Act. A conviction for any one of these offenses carries a mandatory minimum jail sentence and a fine not to exceed $5,000.
Driving under the influence (DUI)
Anybody who operates a motor vehicle while having a blood alcohol content of .08 or more in the State of Washington can be charged with driving under the influence (DUI). Since recreational use of marijuana was legalized in the State of Washington, anybody with .05 nanograms or more of THC in their blood while operating a motor vehicle can be charged with driving under the influence. Regardless of whether a person was found not guilty of a DUI, or the case was dismissed, it’s likely that the person charged with a first offense will receive a 90 day driver’s license suspension along with an ignition interlock device requirement for one year. SR-22 proof of insurance will be required for three years. Even first DUI offenders should expect their insurance rates to skyrocket. Second and third offenders should expect their sentences to be exponentially harsher. All drugged driving cases are treated the same as DUI cases.
This charge might be seen more often in the context of a DUI case rather than on the road itself. It’s not unusual for a DUI charge to be reduced to reckless driving or a “wet reckless.” Like a DUI, reckless driving is also a gross misdemeanor, but as opposed to a DUI conviction, a reckless driving conviction doesn’t require mandatory jail time, and the license suspension is only for 30 days. A court might require a term of probation not to exceed two years. People who are convicted of reckless driving must provide the Department of Licensing with SR-22 insurance verification.
If a person is charged with negligent driving in the first degree, he or she stands accused of endangering or being likely of endangering the person or property of others. The charge can be brought when somebody exhibits the effects of having consumed alcohol, marijuana or another drug and operates a motor vehicle. Whether a person exhibits such effects might be determined by his or her speech, manner, appearance, behavior or lack of coordination. To be charged with negligent driving in the first degree, a driver need not have a blood alcohol level of .08 or above or .05 nanograms or more of THC in his or her body. Any amount of alcohol or a drug in the blood of the driver is sufficient to give rise to this charge. An affirmative defense might be raised if the driver can prove by a preponderance of the evidence that he or she was legally using a prescription drug and consumed it pursuant to the prescription directions and warnings. Negligent driving in the first degree is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a fine not to exceed $1,000.
Contact a Spokane criminal traffic lawyer today
Other criminal traffic statutes govern drivers in the State of Washington. Remember that you can go to jail on a traffic ticket. Contact us right away if you’ve been taken into custody on any criminal traffic violation.