Reductions From DUI to Reckless Driving No Longer Result in Additional License Suspensions

Whenever a person is arrested for a DUI and there is either a breath or blood test over the legal limit or an allegation of a refusal to give a breath or a blood sample, there are two different legal proceedings that occur. First, there is a criminal proceeding through the criminal courts. Second, there is a civil or an administrative proceeding through the Department of Licensing (“DOL”). A negative outcome in either proceeding will result in a license suspension/ revocation. Up until August 1, 2012, Washington State has given credit on a day for day basis toward any license suspension suffered both as a result of  a DUI conviction and an administrative action, but not for license suspensions related to convictions for charges reduced from DUI’s (i.e. Reckless Driving). As of August 1, 2012, people convicted of Reckless Driving (reduced from a charge of DUI) are given a day for day credit for any license suspension that occurred as a result of an DOL administrative license suspension that arose out of the same incident. In other words, there is no “additional” license suspension/ revocation.

RCW 46.61.500 now reads:

(1) Any person who drives any vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving. Violation of the provisions of this section is a gross misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for up to three hundred sixty-four days and by a fine of not more than five thousand dollars.

(2)(a) Subject to (b) of this subsection, the license or permit to drive or any nonresident privilege of any person convicted of reckless driving shall be suspended by the department for not less than thirty days.

(b) When a reckless driving conviction is a result of a charge that was originally filed as a violation of RCW 46.61.502 or 46.61.504, or an equivalent local ordinance, the department shall grant credit on a day-for-day basis for any portion of a suspension, revocation, or denial already served under an administrative action arising out of the same incident. During any period of suspension, revocation, or denial due to a conviction for reckless driving as the result of a charge originally filed as a violation of RCW 46.61.502 or 46.61.504, any person who has obtained an ignition interlock driver’s license under RCW 46.20.385 may continue to drive a motor vehicle pursuant to the provision of the ignition interlock driver’s license without obtaining a separate temporary restricted driver’s license under RCW 46.20.391.

The short and sweet of this change in the law is that a person convicted of Reckless Driving (reduced from an initial charge of DUI) is no longer facing the possibility of an additional 30 days suspension of his/her driving privilege by entering into a plea to a reduced charge of Reckless Driving.

Because of the very real and very significant driver’s licensing ramifications associated with DUI/ Physical Control cases, it is absolutely imperative that an individual arrested for DUI/ Physical Control obtain quality professional legal representation from a Seattle DUI attorney. SQ Attorneys is a team of quality professionals. The Seattle DUI lawyers at SQ Attorneys have an abundance of knowledge and expertise in dealing with not only DUI/ Physical Control criminal charges, but also the associated Department of Licensing administrative hearings which arise out of a DUI/ Physical Control arrest. These attributes are of paramount importance when a person’s Washington State driving privileges are at stake.

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10.0Gregory Wayne Schwesinger
10.0Saad Qamer Qadri