RECKLESS DRIVING - “…and then the officer said, ‘See you in court.’”
Many people who receive Reckless Driving tickets in Virginia are stunned to learn that the charge is a Class 1 Misdemeanor. Can I really be charged criminally for driving too fast or having a fender bender? In short, YES, and it’s very common, you are not alone and there is help.
Reckless driving is defined generally as driving on a highway of the Commonwealth of Virginia in a manner so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person, regardless of the permitted speed limit. This is a very expansive definition and includes an unlimited number of driving behaviors. In addition to the Reckless Generally statute are several specific driving behaviors that are considered reckless, including but not limited to:
• Passing a school bus improperly as it is picking up or dropping off children;
• Engaging in a speed race with another car;
• Improperly passing on a crest of hill; and
• Driving recklessly in a parking lot.
The most common reason a person is charged with Reckless Driving is because the person is claimed to have exceeded the speed limit by more than 20 miles per hour or drove over 80 miles per hour, regardless of the posted speed limit. For example, officers will charge a person with reckless driving for traveling 82 miles per hour in a posted 65 mile per hour zone. Another very common reason for a Reckless Driving charge is after a car crash. It is very common, even for a relatively minor fender bender that a Summons for Reckless Driving will be issued by the law enforcement officer. Often a car crash is simply an accident but in other occasions, it involves a series of bad driving decisions that caused the crash and injures occurred. However, the person who made the error is not always clear and law enforcement officers make their best judgment call at the scene. Just because a person is charged, does not mean they are guilty. Also, even if there is some fault by the person charged it is still possible to build a defense and or have the charge reduced to a traffic infraction.
If you are convicted of Reckless Driving in Virginia, a Class 1 misdemeanor goes on your driving record. The possible punishment for Class 1 misdemeanor is a fine of up to $2,500 and a jail sentence of up to one year. Your driver's license will receive six demerit points if you are licensed in Virginia, and your license may be suspended for up to six months. While these are uncommon outcomes for most offenders, it is important for people to understand the serious nature of the charge and the importance of defending against the charge.
If you have been charged with reckless driving in Virginia, your first call should be to an experienced reckless driving lawyer. A reckless driving conviction can change your life for the worse. The fines, loss of license, and possible jail time are only a few of the problems you face. Increased insurance premiums, necessary disclosure at work, and a criminal record are potentially significant concerns to be considered.
Before going to court in Virginia, please contact an experienced local attorney who is familiar with the jurisdiction of your case. An experienced local reckless driving lawyer can give you the tools you need to mitigate and defend your case. Each jurisdiction is different with regards to whether to take a driver improvement class before or after court, whether the court will acknowledge a speedometer calibration, and if any other documentation or work would be helpful for your defense. Contacting an attorney before taking any independent action could help save you time, money and frustration.
If you are charged with reckless driving, call Naum Estevez, PLLC for a consultation. No attorney can make any guarantees about the outcome of your case, but we can review the facts of your case and evaluate the best possible strategy for your defense. We will work with you to help you achieve the best possible results. Contact us today and begin defending your driving record and your rights.