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Negligent Driving in the First and Second Degrees

Posted Friday, May 24, 2019 by Andrew Charles Huff

There are two types of “negligent driving” offenses in Washington state law but with huge differences between the two laws. The main difference is “Negligent Driving in the First Degree” is a criminal offense while “Negligent Driving in the Second Degree” is an infraction.


This misdemeanor offense is defined as “operating a motor vehicle in a manner that is both negligent and endangers any person or property, and exhibits the effects of having consumed alcohol or illegal drugs.” This means a person must display both “negligent driving” and signs of consuming alcohol or drugs.

The term “negligence” is defined as “failing to exercise ordinary care or the care a reasonably careful person would exhibit under the same or similar circumstances.” The other element is “exhibiting effects of having consumed liquor or drugs,” which could be as little as having the odor on your breath, displaying signs or being in possession.

A conviction of “Negligent Driving in the First Degree” is punishable by a maximum sentence of 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. There is no additional license suspension for this conviction.


A Negligent Driving in the Second Degree is an infraction defined as “operating a motor vehicle in a manner that is both negligent and endangers or is likely to endanger any person or property.” The base fine for this infraction is $250.00. Some examples of Negligent Driving in the Second Degree include excessive speed or any driving that puts others in danger.

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You Can Unlock But Not Start That Vehicle

Posted Wednesday, May 22, 2019 by Andrew Charles Huff

A great dismissal today in Seattle Municipal Court of a Physical Control case involving some new automobile security features and whether a person could unlock a vehicle but not actually start the engine. Client walked back to his truck to sleep while others stayed inside the music venue. Although client had the key fob, his wife kept the actual key while she stayed inside the club. So client could unlock the truck but not start it. The Department of Licensing also agreed.

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Washington Traffic Tickets-What's the News

Posted Friday, May 3, 2019 by Andrew Charles Huff

If you received a Washington traffic ticket recently, you might be wondering what to do next. The good news is not every traffic violation is the same, and most drivers can keep these tickets off their records, preventing costly insurance hikes.

Traffic Tickets & Types of Violations in Washington

The first thing you need to know is what type of ticket you’ve received. Washington traffic violations are classified as either moving or non-moving offenses. A speeding ticket is a moving violation while a non-moving violation includes having expired tabs or a parking ticket.

Examples of moving violations include:

SpeedingA red light or stop sign violationUsing a cell phone

Non-moving violations include:

Driving with expired plates or registration

How to Handle a Traffic Citation

I will request all discovery from the prosecuting attorney and then appear in court on the hearing date with the goal of keeping the ticket off your driving record.
However, if you simply pay the fine, the ticket will appear on your driving record as a ”committed” finding after being reported to the Department of Licensing.

What Happens With Too Many Tickets?

If you receive 4 moving violations in 12 months or 5 in 24 months, your license will be put on probation. Get another 2 more tickets and your driver license will suspended for a period of time.

Deferring a Traffic Ticket

Drivers in our state are allowed to defer a ticket and keep it from being reported to the DOL every 7 years. In order to defer a ticket you must request a deferral from the court.

Call me directly at 206-729-3477 and let’s discuss your case.

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Ticketed in Seattle? Here's What You Do

Posted Thursday, May 2, 2019 by Andrew Charles Huff

If you are one of the many who have been cited by a Seattle Police Officer for speeding, not obeying a traffic sign, talking on your cell phone or other traffic violation, there are some important thigs you should know.

  1. Immediately request a “Contested Hearing” by checking the box on your citation and mailing it into the court within 15 days. Also make a copy of the front of this ticket before mailing it in.

  2. The court will immediately set a “Pre-Hearing Settlement Conference” with a magistrate. The purpose of this hearing is simply to ask for a lower fine. This is not the hearing in which you fight your ticket and keep it off your record. Instead, it is only a mitigation hearing to request a lower fine. However, the ticket will still go on your record.

  3. Contact my office immediately to represent you in your hearing. With me fighting your ticket, I normally can keep it off your record and save you the time of appearing in court.

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Is Stealing a Snowmobile Considered Auto Theft?

Posted Thursday, May 2, 2019 by Andrew Charles Huff

If a person steals a snowmobile, are they stealing a “motor vehicle” or just a lawn mower?

This was the issue before our state’s Division III Appellate Court. Stealing a motor vehicle in Washington is a class B felony. But is a snowmobile considered a “motor vehicle” for purposes of this statute?

In a prior decision, the Court ruled that a riding lawn mower was not a “motor vehicle” for purposes of this statute. In the case of State v. Barnes, the court held that a riding lawn mower was not a “motor vehicle” for purposes of the theft statute RCW 9A.56.065. A “Motor vehicle” was defined as “‘an automotive vehicle not operated on rails; especially one with rubber tires for use on highways.’”

Therefore, the Court held that because a snowmobile is not a car or other automobile, a snowmobile is not a motor vehicle for purposes of RCW 9A.56.065.

State of Washington v. Julia E. Tucker, No. 35530-6-III

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