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Negligent Driving

Washington State now has two classifications of the "Negligent Driving" law violation: First Degree is a criminal charge, classified as a simple misdemeanor, while Second Degree is a traffic infraction with the typical fine of $550.
"Negligent" as far as these two law violations are concerned is defined as: "the failure to exercise ordinary care, and is the doing of some act that a reasonably careful person would not do under the same or similar circumstances or the failure to do something that a reasonably careful person would do under the same or similar circumstances."
Negligent Driving in the First Degree, often called "Neg 1" is as follows: "A person is guilty of negligent driving in the first degree if he or she operates a motor vehicle in a manner that is both negligent and endangers or is likely to endanger any person or property, and exhibits the effects of having consumed liquor or an illegal drug"
"Exhibiting the effects of having consumed liquor" means that a person has the odor of liquor on his or her breath, or that by speech, manner, appearance, behavior, lack of coordination, or otherwise exhibits that he or she has consumed liquor, AND EITHER
  • a) Is in possession of or in close proximity to a container that has or recently had liquor in it; or
  • b) Is shown by other evidence to have recently consumed liquor
"Exhibiting the effects of having consumed an illegal drug" means that a person by speech, manner, appearance, behavior, lack of coordination, or otherwise exhibits that he or she has consumed an illegal drug, AND EITHER
  • a) Is in possession of an illegal drug; or
  • b) Is shown by other evidence to have recently consumed an illegal drug
An illegal drug is "a controlled substance under chapter 69.50 RCW for which the driver does not have a valid prescription or that is not being consumed in accordance with the prescription directions and warnings, or a legend drug under chapter 69.41 RCW for which the driver does not have a valid prescription or that is not being consumed in accordance with the prescription directions and warnings"
It is an affirmative defense to negligent driving in the first degree by means of exhibiting the effects of having consumed an illegal drug that must be proved by the defendant by a preponderance of the evidence, that the driver has a valid prescription for the drug consumed, and has been consuming it according to the prescription directions and warnings. RCW 46.61.5249.
RCW 46.61.525 (Negligent Driving in the Second Degree, or "Neg 2") states: "A person is guilty of negligent driving in the second degree if, under circumstances not constituting negligent driving in the first degree, he or she operates a motor vehicle in a manner that is both negligent and endangers or is likely to endanger any person or property."
If the person ticketed with Neg 2 shows by a preponderance of the evidence that the driving was on private property and the owner of the property consented to the driving, the person does not commit this infraction.
Ashbach Law Offices, LLC has extensive history representing people with both the criminal Negligent Driving (Neg 1) and civil Negligent Driving (Neg 2) allegations. If you, or someone you care about, has been charged (or may be) with a Negligent Driving allegation in King County, Skagit County, Snohomish County, or Whatcom County, call Ashbach Law Offices, LLC today at (360) 659-4950 for a free, no-pressure case evaluation.
With a reputation in the legal community as aggressive, effective and successful criminal defense attorneys, we are here to help you through your difficult times.
Ashbach Law Offices, LLC represents clients charged with criminal offenses in Northwest Washington Courts, including King County, Skagit County, Snohomish County and Whatcom County, as well as other counties on a case-by-case basis. These counties include courts in and for the following cities: Anacortes, Arlington, Auburn, Bellevue, Blaine, Bothell, Burlington, Edmonds, Everett, Issaquah, Kirkland, Lake Stevens, Lynden, Lynnwood, Marysville, Mill Creek, Mukilteo, Monroe, Mountlake Terrace, Monroe, Redmond, Sea-Tac, Seattle, Sedro Woolley, Shoreline, Snohomish, and Tukwila, Washington.
The Ashbach Law Offices, LLC represents clients charged focused on DUI Driving Under the Influence, Reckless Driving, Negligent Driving, Driving with a Suspended License, Hit and Run, Assault, Domestic Violence, Drug Possession (including marijuana), and Paraphernalia Possession, Malicious Mischief, Public Disturbances like Disorderly Conduct, Theft, No-Contact Orders, Harassment, Probation Violation Hearings, as well as speeding tickets.