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Negligent Driving - First Degree

State of Washington—RCW 46.61.5249

(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 an illegal drug.

(b) It is an affirmative defense to negligent driving in the first degree by means of exhibiting the effects of having consumed an illegal 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" means that a person has the odor of liquor 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, and either:

(i) Is in possession of or in close proximity to a container that has or recently had liquor in it;
or

(ii) Is shown by other evidence to have recently consumed liquor.

(c) "Exhibiting the effects of having consumed an illegal drug" means that a person by speech, manner, appearance, behavior, lack of coordination, or otherwise exhibits that he or she has consumed an illegal drug and either:

(i) Is in possession of an illegal drug; or

(ii) Is shown by other evidence to have recently consumed an illegal drug.

(d) "Illegal drug" means a controlled substance under chapter 69.50 RCW for which the driver does not have a valid prescription or that is not being consumed in accordance with the prescription directions and warnings, or a legend drug under chapter 69.41 RCW for which the driver does not have a valid prescription or that is not being consumed in accordance with the prescription directions and warnings.

(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.
[1997 c 66 § 4.]

Notes:

Criminal history and driving record: RCW 46.61.513.

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