FAIRFAX ATTORNEY HELPING CLIENTS DISPUTE RECKLESS DRIVING CHARGES
Reckless driving can have serious legal consequences in Virginia. The courts harshly penalize drivers who threaten public safety. Reckless driving is more than momentary negligence or a simple driving mistake. A “reckless” driver is defined as a driver who willfully disregards safety.
Most reckless driving charges in Virginia are based on speeding. If a driver exceeds the posted speed limit by 20 or more miles per hour, or if a driver exceeds 80 miles per hour – without regard to the posted speed limit – that motorist can be charged with reckless driving.
But if you are driving in a manner that a police officer believes is reckless, your speed won’t matter. If you are tailgating, failing to use turn signals, running stop signs or traffic signals, intoxicated, texting, or distracted in any other way, your driving could be considered reckless.
WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES FOR A RECKLESS DRIVING CONVICTION?
You can’t act as your own lawyer – that’s never a good idea – and you cannot afford to be represented by the wrong Fairfax reckless driving attorney. If you’re charged with reckless driving, far too much will be at stake.
Reckless driving isn’t just a traffic offense in Virginia – it’s a crime, a Class 1 misdemeanor, and if you are convicted, you could be sent to jail for up to 12 months and fined up to $2,500. Your license is suspended for six months, and six “demerit” points are added to your driving record.
A reckless driving conviction in Virginia creates a criminal record, and if your job involves driving, you may have to seek other employment. Your auto insurance will also cost more after a reckless driving conviction.
HOW CAN YOU CONTEST A RECKLESS DRIVING CHARGE?
Having a good driving record helps. Even if you were in fact driving recklessly, if you have a good driving record, your defense lawyer can tell the court that your reckless driving was a one-time isolated incident. Other defenses that can be offered in a reckless driving case include:
- Your speedometer was not functioning properly (and you’ve had it repaired).
- The radar device measuring your speed was not properly calibrated.
- You were speeding because you were involved in a genuine emergency situation.
If your defense is that your speedometer was malfunctioning, you will need to have it repaired. Keep and copy the repair receipt so that your defense attorney can present it to the court.
WHEN IS RECKLESS DRIVING A FELONY?
Reckless driving can be charged as a felony in some cases. For example, if you are driving with a suspended or revoked driver’s license when you’re charged with reckless driving, the charge is a Class 6 felony.
A felony conviction for a reckless driving incident that causes a fatality can be penalized with a prison term of up to twenty years and a lengthy driver’s license suspension.
HOW DOES RECKLESS DRIVING DIFFER FROM “IMPROPER” DRIVING?
However, traffic court judges in the Fairfax area have considerable discretion in reckless driving cases. They can use that discretion to reduce a “reckless” driving charge to “improper” driving, which is a traffic infraction (rather than a misdemeanor) punishable with a maximum $500 fine.
Instead of six points, improper driving puts only three demerit points on your driving record, and instead of staying on your record for eleven years – like a reckless driving conviction – an improper driving infraction will be removed from your record after only three years.
If you are convicted of reckless driving in Virginia, and if you believe that the conviction was wrongful, any appeal must be filed within ten days of the conviction. However, drivers should understand that a guilty plea to a reckless driving charge makes you ineligible to file an appeal.
HOW WILL A DEFENSE ATTORNEY HELP YOU?
Reckless driving charges can be dismissed or reduced, but to win one of these outcomes – or to prevail with an appeal – you’ll need help from a Fairfax reckless driving attorney with extensive experience in traffic law – a lawyer who routinely defends clients charged with reckless driving.
Scott C. Nolan maintains the highest professional standards and provides high-quality legal services at a reasonable cost to his clients. He will handle your case personally and work with all parties involved to bring your reckless driving case to a fair and just conclusion.
Since 2000, attorney Scott C. Nolan has focused his practice entirely on representing clients who are charged with serious traffic offenses and criminal charges like reckless driving and driving under the influence. He will develop an aggressive and effective defense strategy on your behalf.
To schedule a first legal consultation – or to learn more – call Scott C. Nolan or contact his law offices online. If you are charged with reckless driving in Virginia, you must have the right attorney’s advice and representation.