Virginia treats many traffic offenses very seriously. Clients are often surprised to find that the “ticket” they received after a traffic stop is a criminal charge that can lead to license suspension, a criminal record, or even jail. Most of these charges are not prepayable, and the expertise of a Fairfax reckless driving lawyer experienced in reckless driving and other serious traffic offenses is required. We are Fairfax based reckless driving and serious traffic offense attorneys with extensive experience in all the courts of Northern Virginia. Call (703) 337-3773 now for a free consultation or visit our Contact Page.Reckless Driving
Reckless Driving, rather than being a single offense, is a whole group of offenses that are Class 1 Misdemeanors, carrying up to 1 year in jail, up to a $2,500.00 fine, and up to 6 months of license suspension. While it is unusual for a defendant to receive the maximum punishment; fines, license suspensions, and even jail time are routinely imposed in more serious cases and/or where the defendant has prior convictions for traffic offenses that are numerous, serious, or both. Mandatory minimum fines now also apply if a “personal communication device” (smart phone) was being used at the same time. Additional consequences include 6 demerit points with DMV as well as, in most cases, a significant increase to insurance premiums.
Some of the more common types of reckless driving include:
- General Reckless Driving (typical in accident cases) 46.2-852
- Reckless Speeding (20 mph or more above the speed limit, or any time a driver is above 85 mph or more) 46.2-862
- Driving too fast for conditions (often charged during bad weather conditions) 46.2-861
- Passing a stopped school bus 46.2-859
- Aggressive driving (charged during “road rage” incidents) 46.2-868.1
- Racing 46.2-867
- Failure to yield or reduce speed when approaching stationary vehicles with warning lights (police, fire, and rescue, VDOT, etc.) 46.2-861.1
- Driving vehicle not under control/faulty brakes 46.2-853
- Passing on a crest or a curve 46.2-854
- Obstructed view 46.2-855
- Passing two abreast 46.2-856
- Reckless driving on parking lots 46.2-864
- Failure to signal 46.2-860
- Failure to yield §46.2-860
The best plan for your defense is formulated after a full review of the facts and circumstances of each case with the help of a reckless driving attorney serving the Fairfax area. Generally, however, defenses take two forms: (1) challenges to the evidence and (2) mitigation. Challenging the evidence includes a variety of possible defenses including whether the officer’s radar equipment is properly calibrated, calibration of the Defendant’s speedometer, the officer’s ability to accurately see the driving they are complaining of, whether video evidence contradicts the officer, whether the correct charge has been brought, and whether all the elements of the offense have been proven beyond a reasonable doubt. “Mitigation” are efforts made before court to convince the prosecutor or judge that the Defendant is “deserving of a break” so to speak. Good driving record, driver improvement classes, aggressive driving classes, community service, student status, military or security clearance status, and other factors can be mitigation. Knowledge of prosecutors and judges can also play a crucial role.
A properly defended case may result in dismissal of the charges, a reduction in charges, or a reduction in penalties. For example, the prosecutor and the judge each have the ability to reduce a reckless driving charge to “Improper Driving” (§46.2-869) if they are persuaded it is appropriate to do so. Improper driving is a non-criminal traffic infraction that carries a fine and fewer points than Reckless but does not show up on a criminal record or carry the possibility of license suspension or jail. In some cases, a charge may even be reduced to a moving or non-moving violation that does not carry any demerit points with DMV. A Fairfax reckless driving lawyer can tailor a defense to your case and your personal circumstances. Call us now for a free consultation at (703) 337-3773 or visit our Contact Page.