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DUI's Can be Reduced to These Offenses

Posted Friday, September 28, 2018 by Andrew Charles Huff

If you are one of many folks who have been arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI), it’s critical that you speak with a DUI attorney immediately, as there could be specific timelines you need to be aware of. As a criminal defense attorney, I can make sure your rights are protected during an investigation. Part of my representation is to fully investigate any charge against you, review the evidence and discuss what your options are. This could include contesting the evidence, negotiating a resolution to a lesser count or a full dismissal.

Many charges for Driving Under the Influence can be reduced to a lesser offense and one that can be eventually removed from your record unlike a DUI. Some examples of a lesser amended charge from a DUI include: 1) Reckless Driving, 2) Negligent Driving-1st Degree, 3) Reckless Endangerment or 4) Negligent Driving in the 2nd Degree.

Reckless Driving

“Reckless Driving” is defined by driving in “wanton and willful disregard for the lives or property of others” and is a gross misdemeanor. The maximum jail time for any gross misdemeanor is 364 days and a fine up to $5,000. The Department of Licensing will also suspend your license for 30 days.

Compared to a Driving Under the Influence conviction, a Reckless Driving amended from a DUI is less serious. A “Reckless Driving” conviction does not carry mandatory jail time or a requirement of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) unlike with a DUI conviction. The probationary period is usually less than for a DUI.

Negligent Driving in the First Degree

RCW 46.61.5249 criminalizes driving a vehicle in a manner that endangers other people or property while exhibiting the effects consuming alcohol or drugs. A “Negligent Driving in the First Degree” is a simple misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000.00 fine. Also, there is no license suspension penalty for this charge.

Reckless Endangerment

A “Reckless Endangerment” conviction is a gross misdemeanor and is defined as “recklessly engaging in conduct not amounting to drive-by shooting but that creates a substantial risk of death or serious physical injury to another person.” This charge is not a designated traffic-related offense as it can be committed without the use of an automobile. However, I can occasionally negotiate this gross misdemeanor charge over a “Reckless Driving” conviction for one reason…it doesn’t carry a 30-day license suspension.

Negligent Driving in the Second Degree

This is a traffic infraction and not a criminal conviction. Depending on the facts of your case, it’s always possible to negotiate your criminal case down to an infraction but can be challenging to do so. However, I have on several occasions been able to do this when my client’s breath alcohol test level was just below the legal limit.

Whether a Driving Under the Influence can be negotiated to a lesser offense depends on many things, including the amount of alcohol or drugs in your system, whether you have any prior DUI convictions, any accidents and whether you had passengers in your vehicle. Many times, I am able to identify evidence that is subject to suppression by a court because it was obtained improperly, testing procedures were not followed or there were simply too many problems with the quality of it.

If you are arrested for Driving Under the Influence or any other charges, call me directly at 206-729-3477 and let’s discuss your case.

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