Reckless driving is not a mere traffic ticket. But many people who expect to receive only a traffic citation are shocked to see they are also being charged with reckless driving. And, the fact that it is so closely associated with minor traffic offenses may cause you to underestimate how serious these charges actually are. But, do not be fooled; Reckless driving is a gross misdemeanor charge that usually carries up to a $5,000 fine and 364 days in jail. Under some circumstances, it can also carry up to a 90-day jail sentence.
Reckless driving charges can frequently accompany citations for other less serious traffic violations. This is because Washington law defines the crime very broadly: operating a motor vehicle with willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property. This allows numerous types of conduct to be shoehorned into the legal definition of reckless driving:
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