Reckless driving is when a driver operates a motor vehicle in a way that shows an complete disregard for safety of property or other people. This mean the defendant knew that operating a motor vehicle can be extremely dangerous, but chose to do so despite the risks. In some states, reckless driving is a traffic infraction, but in the State of Washington, it’s more serious than a traffic infraction.

How Does Washington State Define a Reckless Driving Charge?

Washington charges driving reckless as a gross misdemeanor. It includes driving in a willful or complete disregard for safety of other people or property, as well as driving at high speed or erratically.

What are Some Types of Reckless Driving in Washington State?

Types of reckless driving that may result in a criminal charge are:

  • Excessive speeding
  • Ignoring traffic signals and signs
  • Racing other drivers
  • Eluding police while operating a motor vehicle
  • Weaving through traffic
  • Illegal passing of a vehicle

What are some Factors that Could Get Me Charged with Reckless Driving in Washington State?

A criminal reckless driving charge may result from many factors such as:

  • Weather conditions
  • If other people were in the area at the time the defendant operated their motor vehicle
  • The defendant’s driving was considered beyond negligent
  • The time of day the driver was driving recklessly

What is the Penalty for Reckless Driving Charge?


A defendant convicted of reckless driving can face up to 1 year in jail and a fine of $5,000. They will also face automatic suspension of a driver’s license for at least 30 days.

Will My Car Insurance go up if Convicted of Reckless Driving?

Yes. If convicted of reckless driving, you can face increased car insurance premiums.

Should I Contact a Lawyer About My Reckless Driving Charge?

Yes. It’s important to talk to a Washington lawyer about how to fight this charge and avoid some severe criminal penalties.