This is one very good reason to speak with an attorney early in your case, as they know how to maneuver your case towards this outcome. First, obtain a certified copy of your driving record from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. pleading guilty for reckless driving admits guilt to a Class 1 Misdemeanor. You could be sentenced to jail if you are convicted of reckless driving. This is not a regular speeding ticket or traffic citation, but it is a misdemeanor crime. While fines and jail time are direct consequences of a criminal conviction, having a crime on your record can negatively impact your life in other ways. Schedule your consultation today and lets talk about what we can do for you! This is important because some judges have policies that concern what, if any, mercy they will grant an otherwise guilty traffic defendant based on how they plead. You go on to testify that the light had just turned green and you thought that the vehicle in front of you was beginning to accelerate and so you didnt brake. Copyright The Reckless Driving Lawyers 2023. Call Free Consultation (703) 350-4877. All rights reserved. Reckless Driving is not a traffic infraction, it is a misdemeanor. Below is some information you may find on your summons and an explanation of the legal effect of signing the summons. 41-6a-528 Reckless driving -- Penalty. When you are asked by a college, a recruiter, or an employer for example, if you have a criminal record, you must truthfully answer yes. 2023 The Wilson Law Firm, All Rights Reserved, Reproduced with Permission. Instead, you are asked to sign the summons, which is a promise to appear in court. If your reckless driving charge is a result of racing, you face enhanced penalties, including a license suspension of up to 2 years and the possible permanent seizure of your vehicle. There are several things you can do before your court date to improve your chances of a reduced charge or dismissal. Reckless driving remains on your Virginia driving record for 11 years. Additionally, by not signing the summons, you come across as rude and uncooperative, which is likely a factor that will play into resolving your case. . If your speedometer was off in your favor this could be used to mount your defense. Maximum penalty: The way you would be guilty of a felony traffic offense in Virginia is if you are convicted of multiple DUI's in a short period of time. It is in your best interest to consult with a Virginia reckless driving attorney before making any decisions. Prepaying Your Fairfax Traffic Ticket: No Big Deal, Right? document.getElementById( "ak_js_1" ).setAttribute( "value", ( new Date() ).getTime() ); Newport News The officer testifies that he did not see any tire marks to indicate braking, which led him to believe that you were distracted and did not brake before impacting the other vehicle. In most cases, you can resolve them by simply paying the associated fine online. Generally speaking, there are a few things youll want to do before your trial date if you choose this path. But generally, reckless driving is a misdemeanor. Several traffic violations are considered so serious under Virginia traffic law that they are charged as a criminal offense rather than a moving infraction. In this article, well cover every aspect of understanding and fighting a reckless driving charge in Virginia. . This is because most states subscribe to the Interstate Drivers License Compact. Instead, improper driving is a way for judges to lower the penalties for reckless driving if they feel the case doesnt necessitate serious punishment. I plead not guilty, your honor, you stammer. Therefore, its essential to speak with a qualified traffic and misdemeanor lawyer to discuss whether it may be an option. As with license suspension, the final decision falls to the judge presiding over your case. We are grateful to everyone at Tingen Law for helping us with our trademark registration, they are professional and efficient. Reckless driving is defined by the Code of Virginia, and though it deals with traffic infractions, it is a criminal offense rather than a moving violation. Under Virginia law, if the driver of that other vehicle decides to sue you for money as a result of the accident and you entered a guilty or no contest plea to the Reckless Driving charge, the other drivers civil attorney may try to use that plea against you as an admission of guilt. And in many Northern Virginia jurisdictions (like Fairfax County), the . Reckless Driving in Virginia when someone drives his/her vehicle on any highway recklessly or at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person. VA Code 46.2-862. Instead, the police officer gives you a ticket (called a summons) and asks you to sign it. If youre unhappy with the outcome of your trial, talk to your lawyer immediately about filing an appeal. What gives me the shivers and a cold sweat is seeing a pro se defendant (no lawyer) walk up to the front of the room and plead guilty to Reckless Driving, a Class 1 Misdemeanor, without a fight. Mar 2, 2023 Education. Conviction of felony reckless driving causing death results in a license suspension of 1 to 3 years as well as a prison sentence of up to 20 years. What are the Consequences of a Reckless Driving Conviction? Well, you guys treat people well. Speeding is only a traffic infraction, but reckless driving due to excessive speed is a criminal offense. This practice is not specified in Virginia law, but some judges see it as necessary to send a message to the offending driver. Possibly. The court enters judgment and you leave the courthouse having been convicted of Reckless Driving. Our office handles reckless driving cases across Northern Virginia state courts (Alexandria, Fairfax, Arlington, Prince William) and the Eastern District of Virginia federal district court. Contact us to see what we can do for you. If accepted, you will plead guilty or no contest to this lesser offense in exchange for the corresponding lower penalties. ", "I feel quite lucky to have hired The Wilson Law Firm to handle my case. In general, you should expect to pay around $350-$500. Individuals convicted of reckless driving in Virginia can expect several penalties, ranging from those outlined in the Code torelated collateral consequences. 2023 Simms Showers, LLP. An attorney experienced with VA reckless driving defense can help you prevent that outcome. The officer can (and will) testify to anything that happened during the traffic stop, including any statements that you made to the officer regarding your speed. Our office highly recommends speaking with an attorney about the specific facts of your case to determine the best approach. However, you will have a much better chance of winning on appeal if you have an attorney representing you, and they can handle the paperwork. We respond to all communications within one business day. We provide free consultations for cases in our area. your lawyer may argue for one of two options. document.getElementById( "ak_js_1" ).setAttribute( "value", ( new Date() ).getTime() ); This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. 3437 W. Cary St. Richmond, VA 23221 Beginning in 2007, Virginia drivers convicted of reckless driving were forced to pay excessive fees ($750-$3,000) according to the law. As the nice officer hands you the summons for Reckless Driving with a court date for you to appear and plead your case to the judge he waves politely and tells you to have a nice day. In a case where just the judge is involved, in a lot of those cases where the evidence is in order, I would probably advise my client to plead no contest. The Penalties for Reckless Driving in Virginia, How to Beat a Reckless Driving Ticket in Virginia 9 Effective Defenses. However, Virginia will report the offense and any imposed suspension or points to your home state. Virginia laws do not statutorily define wet and reckless driving. By signing the summons, you are promising to attend your court hearing in your criminal case. Here is what you are agreeing to when you sign the summons: If you refuse to sign the reckless driving summons, the police officer may assume that you will not appear in court and has the discretion to arrest you and take you to the police station to be booked. In Virginia, reckless driving is defined as any of the following: Driving over 20 mph over the speed limit, or faster than 80 mph total. A plea of no contest, on the other hand, contains no admission. However, if you plead guilty and then are unhappy with the result of your plea, you may have already waived your right to appeal. FAIRFAX, Va. -- Washington Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth has pleaded guilty to reckless driving and has been sentenced to five days in jail for driving 105 mph on the Capital Beltway. You should speak with your lawyer about any and all collateral consequences of a reckless driving conviction before your trial date. The judge then listens to the evidence. As we mentioned earlier, improper driving is a non-criminal offense, and does not carry the risk of jail time. Even if they cant get your case dismissed entirely, having a lawyer by your side can greatly increase your chances of success in court. You cannot simply mail in the ticket. You must fully understand the potential consequences for a conviction and the options that your lawyer can argue for in your defense. The hearing is where you will bring to light all the information presented in the police report. That means that it will be a complete do-over and the judge will hear the case as if it were not brought before any previous court. But then to add insult to injury that police officer who has been very nice throughout the crash investigation informs you that the driver of the other vehicle needs to be taken to the hospital for a possible neck injury, and that he has to charge you with Reckless Driving. If an officer stopped you for speeding, make sure to take note of the speed written on the ticket. There are reasons why no self-respecting lawyer would do this to his or her client. That is part of the reason why it is so important to contact a skilled reckless driving attorney as soon as possible after you are charged with reckless driving. However, you will be allowed to request a jury trial with the understanding that you'll pay the court costs for this option if you're convicted. life, limb, or property?. By pleading guilty, you are now not just charged, with a crime, but you have been convicted of one. What Else Can We Do to Get Your Reckless Driving Ticket Reduced? Class 1 Misdemeanor: Driving Under the Influence (DUI), reckless driving. Initiating the process is quite simple. Virginia DUI and DWI; . Reckless driving carries many of the same consequences of any misdemeanor criminal offense, including the possibility of jail time and a criminal record that is both permanent and publicly available. Usually, reckless driving charges hinge on how the officers speed testing device measures the speed you are traveling at. I had this video transcribed for visitors who prefer to read the content. In order to make a reckless driving charge stick, the state has to prove the following things beyond reasonable doubt: If the judge has a reason to doubt either of those facts, you can move to get your case dismissed. In some cases, your VA reckless driving attorney can appear in court on your behalf, meaning you dont even have to be present. Reckless driving tickets can be received anywhere, but drivers are most at risk on major highways because excessive speeding is more widespread. This means that no matter how light the traffic and no matter how under control your vehicle, it is still reckless driving to drive 85 mph, even in a 70 mph zone, or 20 mph or more over the speed limit. If convicted, your sentence may include jail time, hefty fines, drivers license suspension, points on your driving record, and a permanent criminal record. Attorney fees and costs can vary depending on the nature of the charge and the circumstances of the case. You gave me confidence throughout my case that things would turn out well, and I would recommend you to everyone who needs a lawyer. All parties who plead guilty to a wet and reckless driving charge work with the prosecuting attorney to determine the terms of your guilty plea. What Kind of Evidence Can Help in My Reckless Driving Case? The 10 day timeline includes weekends and holidays. Reckless driving is one of the most commonly charged traffic crimes in Virginia, usually for cases of speeding. No requirement to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle; Possibly no suspension of driver license; and. This was a minor accident. And finally its your turn to testify. However, there are certain guidelines you need to follow. In return, the court will offer you a plea deal for this much lower offense. The DMV will also apply between three and six demerit points to your license. One question I get from prospective clients, that is a little bit frustrating, is How should I plead? Attorney Charles V. Hardenbergh is committed to helping Virginia drivers build a solid defense for their reckless driving cases. Cody Adam Preugschat, 34, pleaded guilty Thursday in Douglas County Superior Court to reckless driving and making a false or misleading statement to a police officer. Speeding tickets are traffic infractions, not misdemeanors. Under Virginia law, if the driver of that other vehicle decides to sue you for money as a result of the accident and you entered a guilty or no contest plea to the Reckless Driving charge, the other driver's civil attorney may try to use that plea against you as an admission of guilt. However, you can appeal the outcome of your case and receive a new trial with a different judge. Eastern District of Virginia District Court, Prince William County Virginia Courthouse, Law Office of Samuel C. Moore, PLLC526 King St., Suite 506Alexandria, Virginia 22314email: [emailprotected]phone: 703.535.7809fax: 571.223.5234, 2023 The Law Office of Sanuel L Moore, PLLC | Document Retention | Advertising & Terms | Privacy & Cookie Policy. It is in your best interest to contact an attorney that handles VA reckless driving cases for a consultation immediately after receiving the ticket. How to Reinstate your Virginia Drivers License in 6 Steps, Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in Virginia: The Ultimate Guide. Filing an appeal is usually a simple process as long as you tell the district court clerk that you want to appeal. Youre left stunned. This can be handled by agreement with the prosecutor, or even done by the Judge after a trial. Reckless driving is a crime. Mr. Wilson is a true professional. You must answer the ticket in the same way as in-state offenders. We provide transparent flat fees and flexible payment plans in most cases. If you are pulled over for speeding in excess of 20 mph above the posted limit, or in excess of 80 mph regardless of the posted limit, you may be charged with a class 1 misdemeanor. Second, you should look into taking driver improvement courses prior to your trial. Many Virginia jurisdictions no longer permit wet reckless driving pleas. This law firm website and legal marketing are managed by MileMark Media. While reckless driving is a class 1 misdemeanor, aggressive driving is a class 2 misdemeanor; however, aggressive driving with the intent to injure another person is charged as a class 1 misdemeanor. A wet reckless driving charge applies in situations where individuals drive recklessly while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If you have any questions during the stop itself, ask the officer who issued you the ticket. In Virginia, this is more typically called a no contest plea. It typically has the same effect as a guilty plea. Reckless Driving is not a traffic infraction, it is a misdemeanor. Reckless Driving in Virginia when someone drives his/her vehicle "on any highway recklessly or at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person." . It is only a promise that you will be in court. An attorney familiar with Virginias reckless driving laws can suggest defenses that may work for your circumstances such as obtaining a speedometer calibration, presenting evidence of a medical emergency, or completing community service to demonstrate remorse for your actions. After you inform the General District Court clerk that you want to appeal, he will have you complete and sign a Notice of Appeal form. Not always, but frequently enough, a car speedometer can be off by several MPH, especially at higher speeds. Its jam-packed full of answers for your case. Your appeal will be heard de novo in circuit court. He hears from the driver of the other vehicle. Jail Time: Class 1 Misdemeanors include a possible sentence of 0-12 months in jail. As Virginia traffic lawyers, we are often asked by clients and prospective clients whether it is best to plead guilty or no contest to a traffic offense such as reckless driving, driving under the influence (DUI/DWI) or speeding. Not surprisingly, the answer is, it depends. First of all, it is always very important to consult with an experienced traffic attorney who has a great deal of experience handling traffic matters in the jurisdiction in which your case is pending before you decide how you should plead to the charge. Guilty is a little bit different than no contest. For a first reckless driving conviction, the Driver License Division (DLD) can suspend the driver's license for up to three months upon the recommendation of the judge. However, if you still dont understand something after leaving the stop, there are a few things you can do to check whether the ticket is for reckless driving: Once youre certain that your ticket is for reckless driving, its time to take a look at your court date. Fewer attendance hours required in the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASAP). While there are several reckless driving statutes in the Virginia Code, most reckless driving charges fall under one of three different laws: Using these laws, as well as other, more specific sections in the statute, Virginia judges can punish a wide variety of unsafe driving habits as reckless.. The Virginia Appeals Process. By the time you realized they had not gone forward upon the light turning green it was too late and you made minor impact with the other vehicle. Jacob is the Managing Partner of Tingen Law. Our experienced reckless driving attorneys at Simms Showers, LLP serve clients in Leesburg, Loudoun County and Fairfax County and can defend you both initially and on appeal from your reckless driving charge. We might be able to get you found not guilty if they cant prove every single piece of the case beyond a reasonable doubt. If your attorney cant get your case dismissed outright, theyll instead argue for lesser charges. One very common example of charge bargaining in Virginia relates to reckless driving. Many offenses that might be infractions in other states are serious crimes in Virginia, and carry similarly serious penalties. That means you wont have a criminal charge on your record, and jail time is off the table, though you will likely receive a fine. Even if you are guilty of this crime, you may have strong defenses that can result in the charges being dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense. Hello, Im Andrew Flusche. It doesnt take too much of an imagination to see yourself involved in a relatively minor accident at a traffic light on your way home from work. Additional penalties for failing to appear may also apply. This video explains a little about the different plea options and how we decide together what you should plead. But the problem is that I cant know if the Commonwealth has their evidence in your case unless Ive looked at all the evidence and talked with the officer and talked with the prosecutor and then, and only then, will we know what plea we should enter. Generally, if the court date on your ticket is within a few weeks of the incident, this will be your date of first appearance.. And while he understands your position, he finds from the evidence that your conduct meets that prohibited under the Virginia Reckless Driving statute. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form. It is also worthwhile to have your attorney explore possible alternative outcomes like amending the charge to speeding or Improper Driving. Do you know how hard it is to find a lawyer that you can trust? Keep in mind that you can be arrested even if you sign the ticket if the officer has other reasons to believe that you will not attend your court hearing. This is particularly true if it is a particularly egregious speed or if it is a repeat offense. Neck injury? Reckless Driving? You are beside yourself! It is very important to consult with an attorney that focuses his or her practice on traffic and DUI/DWI matters. The abusive driver laws in Virginia were recently repealed. You are not pleading guilty by signing the summons. Many potential clients ask me How should I plead? Unfortunately, I cant answer that without first examining every aspect of the case. Since many judges assign community service instead of jail time, committing to, and performing, community service before you show up in court will only help your case. Therefore, even if you do not get jail or a large fine, you will still end up with a criminal record, which can affect many areas of your life including immigration status, security clearance, and background checks for employment. The final plea that would normally be entered is guilty. I will carefully review the facts of your case in determining how best to reach your goal. Even if you live in another state, you might have to show up in the Virginia court listed on your ticket on your assigned day. Convicted motorists face up to six months in jail and a maximum of $1,000 in fines. Irrespective of the maximum speeds permitted by law, any person who drives a vehicle on any highway recklessly or at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person shall be guilty of reckless driving. While not a valid defense on its own, taking actions to fix the problem will also help your case in court. If I Date Someone Else While Separated, Is it Adultery in Virginia? When you are charged withreckless driving in Fairfax, it is different than being charged with other crimes. We are Virginia traffic attorneys who have represented hundreds of client in Northern Virginia for cases involving reckless driving, speeding, DUI/DWI, refusal, hit-and-run, driving on a suspended license, and driving on a revoked license. Were you or a family member charged with reckless driving in Virginia? Its judgment time. Instead, the officer would ask you to sign a ticket, which is really called a summons, and allow you . As you can no doubt see, it this is not a decision to be made lightly. Once you receive a set amount of points within a short amount of time, the DMV will automatically suspend or revoke your license. A lawyer can question any witnesses and make arguments on your behalf. When you plead guilty, you are agreeing to a criminal recordfor life. This means that unfortunately you cannot show up at the court date in a County like Fairfax and try to negotiate the charge with the prosecutor. Additionally, you should avoid incriminating yourself in other courts before your reckless driving trial. A reckless driving conviction will also add four demerit points to the motorist's driving record and likely lead to increased insurance rates. This means that if you drive anywhere in Virginia while suspended you may be charged with the additional crime of driving on a suspended license, which is a misdemeanor crime punishable by jail time and extensive fines. Crimes that are categorized as a Class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia include: Reckless driving. The document that the police officer would hand you when charging you with reckless driving is a summons to appear in court. as well as other, more specific sections in the statute, scratch out the prepayment information on the ticket. First, look at the charges or law section part of the ticket. If you have been charged with reckless driving in Virginia, call (703) 995-6429 for a free consultation with one of our attorneys. failure to appear in court is in itself a Class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia. Im here in Spotsylvania County and I practice in Stafford County, Fredericksburg City, King George County and the surrounding areas, and I would love to speak with you about your case, give you a free consultation, and see what we can do and maybe give you at least a little idea about what kind of plea might make sense. You should consult an attorney to see the range of mitigating factors that can help you get a reduced punishment or charge reduction. You could also ask your attorney if youve already hired one. Showing the court evidence of this may also help your case. Collateral consequences are additional penalties you might face outside of those specifically outlined in the code. Jacob has been our lawyer for 3 years now and he is excellent. Suspended License: Many people who receive reckless driving tickets also face a great risk of having their license suspended. Virginia Beach, VA 23452* Phone: (757) 260-5996. the same criminal penalties as reckless driving. In Virginia, you have the automatic right to appeal any finding by the general district court. Now its the courts turn. While reinstating your Virginia drivers license is simple on paper, the process itself can take several months and several days in court. . By hiring an attorney experienced in Virginia reckless driving law, they can petition the court to appear on your behalf and you may not have to be present. Phone: (757) 317-1000, Newport News Many people who have been charged with reckless driving Virginia have common questions, that we address in this collection of FAQs. At most, improper driving will result in a $500 fine and three points on your license. After you inform the General District Court clerk that you want to appeal, he will have you complete and sign a Notice of Appeal form. While there are hundreds of collateral consequences for criminal convictions in Virginia, there are a few common ones you should look out for in relation to a reckless driving charge. Reckless driving in Virginia is a criminal misdemeanor offense and carries all the penalties of a class I misdemeanor. In general, there are four topics you should consider when facing down a reckless driving ticket: Traffic stop procedures can vary widely based on where you are in Virginia. The trial itself will be conducted in the same general fashion as your first trial. Virginia is notoriously harsh in its treatment of driving crimes. If charged with a DUI or DWI in Virginia, it may be possible to reach an agreement by pleading a lesser charge of a wet reckless driving.
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