Negligent Driving Whatcom County Attorney

NEGLIGENT DRIVING

There are two types of Negligent Driving in Washington State:  Negligent Driving in the First Degree (a crime) and Negligent Driving Second Degree (an infraction). The criminal version of Negligent Driving requires the addition of alcohol or drugs (i.e. Marijuana) while the infraction version has no alcohol or drug addition. Negligent Driving in the First degree is often used as an amendment or reduction from driving under the influence.  As always please contact a criminal defense attorney familiar with Negligent driving if you have been charged with the crime or if you have been charged with DUI.

 

NEGLIGENT DRIVING FIRST DEGREE - THE LAW

RCW 46.61.5249


(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 marijuana or any drug or exhibits the effects of having inhaled or ingested any chemical, whether or not a legal substance, for its intoxicating or hallucinatory effects.
(b) It is an affirmative defense to negligent driving in the first degree by means of exhibiting the effects of having consumed any 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, marijuana, or any drug" means that a person has the odor of liquor, marijuana, or any drug 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, marijuana, or any drug, and either:
(i) Is in possession of or in close proximity to a container that has or recently had liquor, marijuana, or any drug in it; or
(ii) Is shown by other evidence to have recently consumed liquor, marijuana, or any drug.
(c) "Exhibiting the effects of having inhaled or ingested any chemical, whether or not a legal substance, for its intoxicating or hallucinatory effects" means that a person by speech, manner, appearance, behavior, or lack of coordination or otherwise exhibits that he or she has inhaled or ingested a chemical and either:
(i) Is in possession of the canister or container from which the chemical came; or
(ii) Is shown by other evidence to have recently inhaled or ingested a chemical for its intoxicating or hallucinatory effects.
(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.

(4) A person convicted of negligent driving in the first degree who has one or more prior offenses as defined in RCW 46.61.5055(14) within seven years shall be required, under RCW 46.20.720, to install an ignition interlock device on all vehicles operated by the person.
[2013 2nd sp.s. c 35 § 16; 2012 c 183 § 13; 2011 c 293 § 5; 1997 c 66 § 4.]

NEGLIGENT DRIVING SECOND DEGREE - THE LAW

RCW 46.61.525


(1)(a) 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.
(b) It is an affirmative defense to negligent driving in the second degree that must be proved by the defendant by a preponderance of the evidence, that the driver was operating the motor vehicle on private property with the consent of the owner in a manner consistent with the owner's consent.
(c) Negligent driving in the second degree is a traffic infraction and is subject to a penalty of two hundred fifty dollars.
(2) For the purposes of this section, "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.
(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.
[1997 c 66 § 5; 1996 c 307 § 1; 1979 ex.s. c 136 § 86; 1967 c 32 § 69; 1961 c 12 § 46.56.030. Prior: 1939 c 154 § 1; RRS § 6360-118 1/2. Formerly RCW 46.56.030.]

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