Misdemeanor traffic offenses in Washington have intricacies that require examination to properly understand. Read on to do just that, and gain clarity from common violations to the potential escalation of charges. Discover:
- The most common misdemeanor traffic offenses in Washington.
- What transition to misdemeanor charges entail.
- Various scenarios in which your driver’s license could be suspended.
What Are The Most Common Misdemeanor Traffic Offenses Ticketed In King County Or Near King County, Washington State?
Speeding, running red lights, and improperly changing lanes are among the most common misdemeanor traffic offenses in King County, Washington.
When Does Traffic Violation Become A Misdemeanor Or More Serious Offense?
Navigating traffic violations and criminal charges can require nuance that warrants clarification.
Although many do not think of them as such, traffic tickets are actually criminal in nature. They aren’t classified as misdemeanors, however. Instead, they fall into a category known as criminal traffic. This classification sets them apart from typical misdemeanor offenses.
Nevertheless, the transition from a traffic ticket to a misdemeanor or a more serious offense can occur under certain circumstances. The pivotal factor here is whether you are a habitual offender. When an individual accumulates many traffic violations, they may be deemed a habitual offender. At this juncture, the prosecutor holds the discretion to elevate the charges to the level of a misdemeanor.
The threshold for becoming a habitual offender is not reached lightly: it’s not uncommon for someone to rack up as many as 10 to 15 tickets without crossing into habitual offender territory. While traffic violations are indeed criminal in nature, this specific classification change is relatively rare.
When it comes to misdemeanor or felony charges stemming from traffic violations, the situation is usually more serious. If someone engages in consistently hazardous behavior, such as repeatedly driving at excessive speeds far beyond the posted limits – say 110 MPH in a 60 MPH zone – then the habitual offender label could lead to misdemeanor charges. In particularly egregious cases, where dangerous behavior persists even after misdemeanor charges, the possibility of facing felony charges becomes a consideration.
To summarize, it’s relatively infrequent for traffic cases to escalate to the level of misdemeanors or felonies in practice. Most traffic violations remain within the realm of traffic tickets, even though they carry criminal implications. This distinction underscores the unique nature of traffic-related legal proceedings.
What Scenarios Most Commonly Lead To Suspended License In Washington State?
Suspended licenses frequently stem from DUI (Driving Under the Influence) convictions. In such cases, an automatic suspension period is triggered, varying depending on the nature of the conviction. For instance, if you’re convicted of a DUI, the suspension period is typically 90 days. A conviction for reckless driving may lead to a 30-day suspension, whereas negligent driving convictions might not necessarily result in a suspension.
However, the possibility of a suspended driver’s license extends beyond criminal convictions. If you are deemed a habitual offender in a traffic-related case, the authorities might recommend suspending your driver’s license for a designated period.
Reinstating a suspended driver’s license involves an administrative hearing with the Office of Administrative Hearings in Olympia. This process does not pass through the courts. In it, a lawyer would facilitate the reinstatement by reviewing your case’s docket and ensuring you’ve fulfilled any conditions set by the Department of Licensing. Once those conditions are met, they will begin working towards reinstating your driver’s license.
While DUI cases are a common trigger for suspended licenses, it’s important to recognize that other scenarios, such as reckless or negligent driving convictions or habitual offender status, can also lead to license suspension.
For more information on Misdemeanor Traffic Offenses In Washington, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (425) 276-7390 today.