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Reasonably Avoiding Damage to Vehicle is Not Negligent

Posted Wednesday, March 31, 2021 by Andrew Charles Huff

A great outcome today in a disputed hearing after my client was cited for “Negligent Driving in the 2nd Degree” under RCW 46.61.525, an infraction which prohibits driving which is both “negligent and endangers person or property.”

In this case, my client was driving behind another vehicle but suddenly drove partially onto the shoulder for a few seconds with the citing officer directly behind her. The officer assumed my client was attempting to pass the vehicle in front of her by using the shoulder, then spotted the officer and went back onto the road. However, my client was actually dodging a large pothole in the road which led to her actions, not trying to negligently pass another vehicle by using the shoulder.

The citing officer didn’t have time to listen to my client’s explanation and therefore a Contested Hearing was required to explain my client’s actions were to avoid potential damage to her car by running over a pothole. This testimony, along with a few Iphone photos showing the pothole convinced a judge to dismiss this case due to unavoidable circumstances.

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