Written by attorney Linda Medeiros Callahan

New WA Infraction: Negligent Driving 2d Vulnerable User Victim

A new infraction will be in effect starting July 1, 2012. The infraction is Negligent Driving in the Second Degree, Vulnerable User Victim. Unlike other traffic infractions, the penalties for this new infraction go beyond simply financial fines, and may include a license suspension.

What do I have to commit Negligent Driving in the Second Degree, Vulnerable User Victim?

To find the infraction committed, a judge needs to that you operated a vehicle in a manner that was both negligent and endangered or was likely to endanger a person or property and caused substantial bodily harm, great bodily harm, or death to a vulnerable user.

What constitutes substantial or great bodily harm?

For this infraction, the law defines substantial or great bodily harm as it is used in other violations, including criminal law violations. Substantial bodily harm is an injury that causes a fracture, temporarily, but substantially, disfigures a person, impairs the function of or causes the loss of an organ or other body part, such as a liver or leg. Great bodily harm goes beyond and is an injury that causes permanent disfigurement, creates a probability of death, or a significant impairment or loss of function of an organ or body part.

Who is considered a vulnerable user?

Vulnerable users are people using the road in a non-motorized manner, such pedestrians, bicyclists, people riding animals, such as horses, and people using electric assistive mobility devices. The definition of a vulnerable user also includes some drivers or users of motorized transportation, such as motorcyclists, moped users, electric-assisted bicyclists or cyclists, users of motorized foot scooters, and those using a farm tractor or other agriculture vehicles without an enclosed shell.

What are the penalties for the infraction?

If the infraction is found committed, the driver must pay a fine of at least $1,000.00, with a maximum fine of $5,000.00. Additionally, the driver’s license will be suspended for 90 days. If the driver requests a contested hearing and is still found to have committed the infraction, the penalties may be reduced to a fine of $250.00, perform a maximum of 100 hours of community service, and attend traffic school. If the second set of penalties is imposed, the driver has one year to complete the traffic school days, the community service, and pay the fine. If the driver does not comply within the year, then the higher maximum fine and the license suspension will be imposed.

Should I hire a lawyer to help me for this infraction?

Absolutely. The penalties for Negligent Driving in the Second Degree, Vulnerable User Victim are more like criminal punishment than other traffic infraction penalties. You need a lawyer to fight for you to try to dismiss the infraction, or have it reduced if possible. These penalties go beyond simply having your insurance find out – they can drastically affect your life and may put your job in danger. Contact an experienced traffic lawyer at once for help.

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