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Negligent DrivingNegligent driving in Washington State is defined as failing to exercise ordinary care when driving. Examples of negligent driving may include: running a stop sign, performing a lane change without looking or yielding the right of way, or any other type of careless driving that might cause an accident. The term “negligence” related to an accident may refer to the civil determination of fault for an accident, or the criminal charge of negligent driving. Not all those who cause an accident are charged with “negligent driving”, but they can still be deemed to be “negligent” in a civil lawsuit.

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 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.

RCW 46.61.525: Negligent driving—Second degree.

(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.

RCW 46.61.526: Negligent driving—Second degree—Vulnerable user victim—Penalties—Definitions.

(1) A person commits negligent driving in the second degree with a vulnerable user victim if, under circumstances not constituting negligent driving in the first degree, he or she operates a vehicle, as defined in RCW 46.04.670, in a manner that is both negligent and endangers or is likely to endanger any person or property, and he or she proximately causes the death, great bodily harm, or substantial bodily harm of a vulnerable user of a public way.

(2) The law enforcement officer or prosecuting authority issuing the notice of infraction for an offense under this section shall state on the notice of infraction that the offense was a proximate cause of death, great bodily harm, or substantial bodily harm, as defined in RCW9A.04.110, of a vulnerable user of a public way.

(3) Persons under the age of sixteen who commit an infraction under this section are subject to the provisions of RCW 13.40.250.

(4) A person found to have committed negligent driving in the second degree with a vulnerable user victim shall be required to:

(a) Pay a monetary penalty of five thousand dollars, which may not be reduced to an amount less than one thousand dollars; and

(b) Have his or her driving privileges suspended for ninety days.

(5) In lieu of the penalties imposed under subsection (4) of this section, a person found to have committed negligent driving in the second degree with a vulnerable user victim who requests and personally appears for a hearing pursuant to RCW 46.63.070 (1) or (2) may elect to:

(a) Pay a penalty of two hundred fifty dollars;

(b) Attend traffic school for a number of days to be determined by the court pursuant to chapter 46.83 RCW;

(c) Perform community service for a number of hours to be determined by the court, which may not exceed one hundred hours, and which must include activities related to driver improvement and providing public education on traffic safety; and

(d) Submit certification to the court establishing that the requirements of this subsection have been met within one year of the hearing.

(6) If a person found to have committed a violation of this section elects the penalties imposed under subsection (5) of this section, the court may impose the penalties under subsection (5) of this section and the court may assess costs as the court deems appropriate for administrative processing.

(7) Except as provided in (b) of this subsection, if a person found to have committed a violation of this section elects the penalties under subsection (5) of this section but does not complete all requirements of subsection (5) of this section within one year of the hearing:

(a)(i) The court shall impose a monetary penalty in the amount of five thousand dollars, which may not be reduced to an amount less than one thousand dollars; and

(ii) The person’s driving privileges shall be suspended for ninety days.

(b) For good cause shown, the court may extend the period of time in which the person must complete the requirements of subsection (5) of this section before any of the penalties provided in this subsection are imposed.

(8) An offense under this section is a traffic infraction. To the extent not inconsistent with this section, the provisions of chapter 46.63 RCW shall apply to infractions under this section. Procedures for the conduct of all hearings provided for in this section may be established by rule of the supreme court.

(9) If a person is penalized under subsection (4) of this section, then the court shall notify the department, and the department shall suspend the person’s driving privileges. If a person fails to meet the requirements of subsection (5) of this section, the court shall notify the department that the person has failed to meet the requirements of subsection (5) of this section and the department shall suspend the person’s driving privileges. Notice provided by the court under this subsection must be in a form specified by the department.

(10) 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.

(11) For the purposes of this section:

(a) “Great bodily harm” and “substantial bodily harm” have the same meaning as provided in RCW 9A.04.110.

(b) “Negligent” has the same meaning as provided in RCW 46.61.525(2).

(c) “Vulnerable user of a public way” means:

(i) A pedestrian;

(ii) A person riding an animal; or

(iii) A person operating any of the following on a public way:

(A) A farm tractor or implement of husbandry, without an enclosed shell;

(B) A bicycle;

(C) An electric-assisted bicycle;

(D) An electric personal assistive mobility device;

(E) A moped;

(F) A motor-driven cycle;

(G) A motorized foot scooter; or

(H) A motorcycle.

Injured by a Negligent Driver?

Being injured by a negligent driver often times leads to many various complications. Contact the experienced and aggressive personal injury attorneys at Parke Gordon Law Firm in Spokane to handle your auto accident case. Our lawyers and staff believe every client deserves fair representation. We will aggressively fight for every penny you are owed. Call our Spokane law office today for a free consultation at (509) 482-7274.

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Our Spokane, Washington law firm services clients in and surrounding Spokane, including for injuries and accidents in Spokane Valley and injuries and accidents in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Visit or call our Spokane law firm today. Parke Gordon LLC 421 W Riverside, Suite 256 Spokane, WA 99201 Phone:(509) 482-7274

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