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If you, or someone you know, is facing a Washington state negligent driving first degree charge, the government must prove the elements of that offense beyond a reasonable doubt. These elements are laid out under the Washington state criminal statutes.
Negligent Driving First Degree = Misdemeanor
Negligent driving first degree is a misdemeanor, punishable by not more than 90 days in jail and not more than a $1000 fine. It is not uncommon for a Washington state DUI or DWI to be reduced to a negligent driving in the first degree during the negotiation process of Washington state DUI charges. There is no license suspension for negligent driving 1st degree and no ignition interlock requirement for a conviction (unless is a second conviction reduced from DUI). If you have any questions about the elements of the Washington State negligent driving 1st degree charges, please feel free to contact us for a free consultation.
Revised Code of Washington Statutes
Revised Code of Washington statutes (what the Washington State government most prove beyond a reasonable doubt to convict you of this crime and what we will defend you against):
RCW 46.61.5249 Negligent Driving — First Degree
(1)(a) 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.
(b) 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.
(c) Negligent driving in the first degree is a misdemeanor.
(2) For the purposes of this section:
(a) "Negligent" means 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.
(b) "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: (i) Is in possession of or in close proximity to a container that has or recently had liquor in it; or (ii) Is shown by other evidence to have recently consumed liquor.
(c) "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: (i) Is in possession of an illegal drug; or (ii) Is shown by other evidence to have recently consumed an illegal drug.
(d) "Illegal drug" means 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.
(3) Any act prohibited by this section that also constitutes a crime under any other law of this state may be the basis of prosecution under such other law notwithstanding that it may also be the basis for prosecution under this section.