Was pulled over after passing a driver making a left hand turn by using the shoulder of the road/parking lot. My 7 year old son was unrestrained in the rear cargo area of my hatchback, as all available restraints were in use. Officer accused me of having an additional unrestrained minor, though this was not the case. I was issued a citation for my son, as well as my restrained daughter, and additionally face reckless driving charges and a citation for no insurance. I am unemployed following a nationwide layoff, so I have been unable to afford insurance or a vehicle large enough to safely accommodate my family of 7. This is not typical behavior for me - I have no priors. What is a typical or likely outcome of this case, both with and without representation? What is my best course of actionAs for circumstances - conditions were clear, driver ahead braked abruptly, swerved to avoid what I believed to be inevitable collision, no pedestrian endangerment, and all occurred at a rate of speed less than 20 mph. I have been given a court date of 1/8, with 5 days to prepare.
The likely outcome of taking on the prosecutors office and the police department in a court of law, without an attorney? Conviction, jail time, fine and license suspension. If you are unemployed, you most likely qualify for a public defender. You would be real advised not to take advantage of that. Not sure this is reckless driving, but it is probably reckless endangerment.
That court date is likely an arraignment - where the judge tells you what the charge is, the possible range of penalties if found guilty, and gives you a court date for trial. That's not "5 days to prepare." You get more time than that, don't worry.
The arraignment is where you want to ask for court appointed counsel if you qualify.
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If the court date on the 8th is your first one on the matter, then you will have an opportunity to request an attorney. From what you have said, you likely qualify to have one appointed. Also, take a look at the RCW for Reckless Driving in Washington - RCW 46.61.500. It is a gross misdemeanor with a maximum possible sentence of 364 days in jail and a $5000 fine.
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