Negligent Driving Attorney Vancouver WA

Roger Priest is an experienced DUI criminal defense attorney in Vancouver WA with extensive courtroom experience in Washington state’s complex criminal laws.

DUI is not Washington’s only alcohol related driving offense. Drinking and driving can also lead to a criminal conviction for Negligent Driving in the First Degree. Negligent Driving in the First Degree is a simple misdemeanor punishable up to 90 days in jail and a $1000 fine. DUI is a more serious criminal charge punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a $5000 fine. Negligent Driving occurs when you drive in a manner likely to endanger persons or property after exhibiting the effects of having consumed alcohol. Simply put, DUI requires impairment while Negligent Driving does not.

Consider the following example of Negligent Driving in the First Degree. You are in a hurry to get home and are weaving in and out of traffic. You get pulled over for erratic driving by the police. During the traffic stop, the officer smells alcohol on your breath. You admit to having had a couple of beers. However, you pass the field sobriety tests and blow under the legal limit. You may not be charged with DUI since you demonstrate impairment. You could be charged with Negligent Driving in the First Degree instead.

Negligent Driving is rarely charged in place of DUI. Police will often charge you with DUI and let the prosecution sort out whether a Negligent Driving charge is more appropriate. This is especially true if you fail the field sobriety tests. This is troublesome because it is possible to “fail” field sobriety tests of many reasons besides impairment. Nevertheless, if you fail the field sobriety tests and get arrested, you will likely be charged with a DUI in Washington. Even if you blow under the legal limit at the station, you may have to defend against a DUI charge in court. I’ve personally seen DUIs charged as low as 0.04% BAC.

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negligent driving in the first degree vancouver wa

Negligent Driving Penalties

One of the biggest differences between Negligent Driving and DUI is that Negligent Driving does not require a license suspension.  This is somewhat convoluted because in many cases where you are charged first with a DUI and face a license suspension but then negotiate a reduced charge to Negligent Driving, your license will be suspended for reasons other than the conviction for Negligent Driving.

Additionally, a conviction for Negligent Driving does not carry any mandatory minimum sentence requirements. That means that in theory you could be convicted of Negligent Driving and face no jail, no work crew, no house arrest and no fines. Because Negligent Driving is a driving related criminal offense, there are a few state mandated conviction fees that are not technically considered fines. These include a traffic penalty assessment, an emergency response fee, and in some cases a breath testing fee. Even considering these fees, a Negligent Driving conviction is typically half as expensive in court costs than a DUI.

Perhaps the most favorable advantage of a Negligent Driving conviction over a DUI conviction is that there is no requirement that you install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle for a first time Negligent Driving conviction. Considering that a DUI requires you have an ignition interlock device in your vehicle for at least one year, Negligent Driving can be an attractive alternative.

If You Have Been Charged With A DUI In Clark County or Vancouver WA, Time Is Of The Essence!

Call Our Office To Speak With Attorney Roger Priest Immediately.

(360) 281-7314

Reducing A Potential DUI Charge

In certain cases, Washington prosecutors will agree to reduce a DUI charge to a Negligent Driving charge instead.  Every case is different and there are no hard line rules, but a DUI lawyer can sometimes negotiate your DUI charge down to a Negligent Driving charge to take advantage of these benefits.  Factors that can sometimes weight in your benefit to warrant a reduction are low BAC, cooperativeness with the police, lack of criminal history, your relative value to the community at large in other respects, the attorney you hire.  Factors that can work against your obtaining a reduction are dangerous driving, disrespect towards the officer, prior DUI charges or convictions, high BAC, obvious intoxication, and warrants.  As stated before, every case is different, so it pays to hire an experienced DUI attorney who can effectively negotiate on your behalf on your DUI case.  Any opportunity to negotiate a DUI charge down is an opportunity well seized.

One thing to consider is that a reduction down from DUI will statutorily still count as a prior offense for sentencing purposes if you get another DUI in the next seven years. The statute treats certain reduced charges the same as a DUI conviction for future sentencing purposes. This can be especially important given that second and subsequent DUI convictions within a seven year period are treated extremely harshly under Washington law.

If you are facing a DUI charge and want to consult with an attorney about whether your charge can be reduced, we offer a free initial consultation on every case, so it pays to take the time to meet with an experienced lawyer who can help.

Regardless of the charge, we can help.  Call today to talk directly to Roger Priest and get the answers you need to take control of your case.  We are available to meet right away.  We can offer flexible payment plans.  The consultation is free.  What do you have to lose?  Get the help of a criminal defense attorney today.

What Our Clients Say About Us

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Roger handled my case promptly and painlessly. We are from out of state and had spoken with quite a few attorneys in the area before we made the trip. Roger was middle of the road cost-wise (which was truly fair)and was clearly competent, handling the case in one trip over as oppose to the two or even three trip process many of the others were communicating would be the case. I would hire again without a second thought. Thanks again Roger.

Shelley W 5 star testimonial
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Excellent responsiveness, considerate and honest. Roger got the job done results were in my favor. Couldn’t be happier, Highly recommend!!

Karin Saltz 5 star testimonial
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Roger Priest provided truly exceptional service for a family member of mine. He was an extraordinary value for the level of knowledge and proffessionalism he provided. My loved one got the deal of a lifetime thanks to him. If any of my friends or family are ever in a less than fortunate spot and need legal advice Roger will always be my #1 reccomendation.

Taylor Vance 5 star testimonial
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Roger Priest is professional, intelligent and experienced, you can tell by the way he holds himself in court. Out of the 21 lawyers I interviewed and compared on an excel spreadsheet. I put my trust in Roger and he didn\'t let me down.

Aaron M 5 star testimonial
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Roger Priest was my Criminal Attorney for a DUI case I had in 2018. Through out the whole process he was in contact and always was reassuring! He gave his honest opinion on rather or not if my case would be worth going to trial, which is hard to come by! Today I left the courtroom a free man to come home to my family with a lot of tension lifted off my shoulders because of how he was articulate and presented my defense. I am very lucky to have him in my corner and to be spared. I will take this experience as a wake up call because these opportunities don\\\'t come too often! Mr. Priest definitely deserves a 5 star rating for his devotion and overall performance.

JB 5 star testimonial
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Roger Priest was referred to me by another lawyer (who could not take my case). Out of the 3 lawyers I reached out to Mr. Priest was willing to hear my case and not just try and convince me to take the easy route and plead out. He was informative, honest, and very tactical (in his approach with my case). Mr. Priest not only kept me updated with his plans and what to except he involved me in every aspect I could be in. He was very approachable and kind. I won my case, I wouldn’t have if I had gone with another lawyer. I am very satisfied with having had Roger Priest defend me. I hope to never have to use his services again but definitely would rehire him again (I wish I could hire him as my divorce attorney).

Alicia S. 5 star testimonial
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I recently consulted Roger for my first and only legal matter. He explained at length the legal ramifications that i was facing and he listened closely to all my questions and concerns. He was very attentive and empathic towards my situation and did not rush through things. I would highly recommend Roger to anyone I know seeking legal representation.

Itzel Keefer 5 star testimonial

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