I was Visiting Virginia and Received a Reckless Driving Ticket: What Do I Do?
January 11, 2021
Reckless driving is taken very seriously in the Commoneralth of Virginia. State troopers patrol the highways in search of people engaged in excessive speeding and erratic driving. If you are an out-of-state driver, or if you are passing through Virginia to get to a northern or southern destination, you have no doubt seen the heavy police presence on the roads. That is not accidental. The state relies heavily on traffic fines to fill its coffers. And given that one of the most important transportation arteries in the nation—I-95—runs through Virginia, the police have plenty of opportunities to make stops and charge people with reckless driving.
If you have been ticketed for reckless driving, you have two choices: submit or fight. If you choose the latter, then you will need the help of a reckless driving lawyer Fairfax VA or reckless driving lawyer Prince William VA. You will need someone on your side who knows the laws of the state and can help you understand them. If you do not live in Virginia, you will need someone who can be your advocate. A traffic lawyer Fairfax VA or traffic lawyer Prince William VA will deliver.
Understanding Reckless Driving
Reckless driving is a Class 1 Misdemeanor in Virginia. It is punishable by up to 12 months in jail, a fine of up to $2,500, and a suspension of your license for up to 6 months. If you believe that an officer has unfairly cited you for reckless driving, you should fight the charge. The prosecutor must still prove the case. For Reckless Speeding cases, they must demonstrate that you were driving more than 20mph above the speed limit or over 85mph. There is a world of difference between speeding and reckless driving. The former is traffic infraction; the latter is a criminal offense that can send you to jail.
You should not be the victim of these harsh penalties. If you were driving less than 85mph and less than 20mph over the speed limit, then you should be issued a speeding ticket, not charged with reckless driving. The police officer and prosecutor will have the burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were doing either of those things.
Fines for basic speeding in Virginia can be heavy—typically up to $250—and you will get points on your license which may lead to a rise in your insurance. But the judge cannot suspend your license for a basic speeding ticket, and you absolutely cannot be sent to jail for such an infraction. Whereas if you are convicted of reckless driving, you may face the following consequences:
- Suspension of your license for up to 6 months
- Fines up to $2500
- Possible jail time
With this kind of heat, you need a Fairfax traffic lawyer or Prince William traffic lawyer with extensive experience and expertise in the area. You need a criminal lawyer Fairfax VA or criminal lawyer Prince William VA who knows how to handle cases involving out-of-state drivers. In some instances, the court can excuse you from showing up to contest the reckless driving citation and have your attorney appear on your behalf. You want a Fairfax criminal attorney or Prince William criminal attorney who is savvy and knowledgeable enough to make this happen.
You also want a lawyer who is able to gather all the facts and argue robustly and effectively on your behalf. If an officer charges you with reckless driving, then they should be able to back it up with evidence. The main aim of your lawyer will be to examine that evidence and discern whether it has weaknesses and, if so, use them to your advantage in court.
If you have been charged with reckless driving, then you should speak to a Virginia criminal defense attorney at Rudolphi Law.