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Negligent Driving is a pretty common violation that can be charged as either a traffic ticket, or a criminal offense. As a traffic citation, Negligent Driving in the Second Degree (Neg 2) can cause increased insurance rates, and even cost you your license. In addition to all of that, simply paying the ticket will cost you more than $500 in most courts. I'll explain why you should always fight your Neg 2 infraction.
Negligent Driving in the First Degree (Neg 1), on the other hand, is a misdemeanor criminal offense. If you are convicted of Neg 1, you can be punished with up to 90 days in jail, and $1000 fine. You need to take Neg driving charges seriously.
The experienced traffic attorneys at Durflinger Oliver will fight to get you the best possible results in you Neg driving court case. All of our attorneys are experienced defense counsel. Jim Oliver is a former Assistant Attorney General, and Ross Brittain and Martha McLaughlin is are former deputy prosecutors. They know the laws, the prosecutors, the judges, and the rules, and they use that knowledge to protect you.
Let's break down the different versions of Negligent Driving.
Neg 1, as you know, is a criminal offense. To convict you of Neg 1, the prosecutor would have to prove that 1) a person operated a motor vehicle in a negligent manner, and endangered or was likely to endanger persons or property, and 2) the driver exhibited the effects of having consumed alcohol or an illegal drug.
The prosecutor can prove that you "exhibited the effects of alcohol" simply by having a cop testify that you had the odor of alcohol on your breath, or that your speech, appearance, manner, behavior, lack of coordination, or showed that you consumed an intoxicating substance. We often see cops write in their Neg 1 reports that "the driver's breath smelled of intoxicants", and "the driver's speech was slow, slurred", and the driver "fumbled" for his license. This set of facts could be sufficient to prove Neg 1. On the other hand, these facts by themselves are not enough, which is how the attorneys at Durflinger Oliver have gotten such great results for clients.
A lot of people don't realize that you can be convicted of drunk driving and Negligent Driving even if you've only taken prescribed medications. That means that pain pills, medical marijuana, and even an excessive amount of cough syrup can land you in court on a Neg 1 charge. Fortunately, it's possible to examine blood test records and fight charges based on the levels of controlled substance in the blood stream close to the time of driving. Our attorneys have a great track record of attacking blood tests and getting our clients exceptional results.
Neg 2 is simply a traffic infraction. Infractions are civil offense, which means that there is no possiblity of jail time. On the other hand, there can be significant fines and impacts on your license and insurance. Fortunately, beating these infractions can be relatively easy for an experienced traffic defense attorney. We routinely beat more than 95% of these charges in Pierce County District Court.
The commonly accepted definition of Negligence is the failure of a person to exercise ordinary care that a reasonably careful person would exercise under the same or similar circumstances. In the Neg Driving context it's the failure to do what a reasonable person would do, and that failure puts others at risk. We generally see this infraction for drivers who, according to cops, go way to fast, hit other drivers, pedestrians or property, or fall asleep while driving.
Many DUI charges end up reduced to Neg 1. This is frequently a great result as the driver almost always gets to keep his license, and jail time is rarely imposed. Compare this to the mandatory minimums of 24-48 hours in jail and a license suspension of 90 - 365 days. Another added benefit is that DUI/DWI convictions have probationary periods up to five years. Probation for a Neg 1 conviction is capped at two years. It's important to remember, however, that any reduction of charges from DUI would still be considered a DUI conviction if the driver catches a second DUI within seven years.
If you've been charged or cited with a Negligent Driving offense, the experienced traffic attorneys at Durflinger Oliver & Associates can help protect you. Call today to schedule your free consultation, (253)683-4180.