VIRGINIA RECKLESS DRIVING QUESTIONS?
Answers By Virginia Attorneys of SRIS, P.C. who defend reckless driving tickets in Virginia
The Law Offices of SRIS, P.C. attorneys who defend Virginia reckless driving cases receive hundred of questions a year regarding reckless driving in Virginia from their clients.
The following are a compilation of some of the most commonly asked questions the Virginia attorneys of SRIS, P.C. receive each year from clients who are charged with reckless driving in VA. The attorneys who have taken the time to compile these questions and answer them are experienced at defending Virginia reckless driving charges by virtue of their training and years of handling reckless driving cases in Virginia in the different state and federal courts throughout Virginia. The seven attorneys who have compiled these questions and answers are from the Fairfax, Lynchburg, Fredericksburg, Manassas, Richmond & Virginia Beach client meeting locations of SRIS, P.C.
1) I was only going 20 miles per hour over the speed limit and I was charged with reckless driving in Virginia. I did not drive recklessly nor did I endanger anybody and there was almost nobody on the road, so why was I charged with reckless driving?
The simple answer is that any person in Virginia who is driving and speeding in excess of 20 miles per hour over the posted speed limit can be charged with reckless driving. However, some officers who stop people for going 20 mile per hour over the posted speed limit may not charge that person with reckless driving in Virginia. Also, any person who is driving in excess of eighty (80) miles per hour may also be charged with reckless driving in Virginia.
2) Will a reckless driving conviction in Virginia cause me to lose my security clearance?
The honest answer is probably not. However, depending on the type of job, this may affect whether you receive further security clearances. The safest answer is for you to talk with your HR department or your supervisor as to whether a conviction for reckless driving in Virginia will affect your security clearance. Of course, if one of our VA reckless driving defense lawyers is able to knock the VA reckless driving charge to a lesser traffic charge, then you probably don’t have to worry about talking to your job about the VA reckless driving charge.
As a side note, the VA attorneys of SRIS, P.C. are extremely cognizant that a large number of our clients work for the government or private businesses that require security clearances. Therefore, when they talk with their clients who have been charged with reckless driving in Virginia, they take the time to learn more about each client to determine if a security clearance is going to be an issue that they will have to deal with in court.
3) Reckless Driving – Penalties In Virginia?
A VA Reckless driving conviction will result in being convicted of a class 1 misdemeanor pursuant to Virginia Code Section 18.2-11. The maximum statutory penalty for a class one misdemeanor is twelve (12) months in jail, six months suspension of your Virginia driver’s license or six months plus a fine of $2,500.
If you are an out of state driver and you are convicted of reckless driving in Virginia, your privilege to drive in Virginia will be suspended for up to six months. Additionally, the Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will be notified by the Court of your license being suspended in Virginia and DMV in turn will most likely report your license suspension to the state that you are licensed in. This may cause you a problem because most states that issue a driver’s license to operate a motor vehicle will honor notice of suspensions from other states and suspend the driving privileges of the driver in that state as well.
Also, a significant portion of our clients are out of state professional truck drivers who have a commercial driver license (CDL) to worry about and have a hard time making it to court to defend a reckless driving charge in Virginia. We work closely with our clients who have CDL to protect by trying to go to court without them when possible and defend them against a reckless driving charge.
Note: What was stated earlier was the maximum penalty. Rarely is the maximum penalty imposed in every conviction of reckless driving in Virginia. Some courts in Virginia are known to be harsher than other courts in Virginia. Some examples of courts that are known for their tough sentences are Fairfax County VA Courts, Falls Church City VA Court, Arlington County VA Courts, Fairfax City VA Court and the City of Virginia Beach Courts. For example, the rule of thumb in the Fairfax County VA Courts & Fairfax City VA Court is that if you are charged with reckless driving at a speed in excess of 80 mph, you will lose your license. If you are charged with reckless driving at a speed in excess of 90 miles per hour, you will lose your liberty.
4) Is there any way a reckless driving charge in Virginia may be lowered to a lesser charge or can it be beaten outright?
Certain courts may permit a person charged with reckless driving charge in Virginia to attend what is commonly known as traffic school and upon completion of the course, have the VA reckless driving charged lowered to a lesser charge and in some cases even completely dismissed (Although this is pretty rare.) Some of the most commonly requested items the attorneys of SRIS, P.C. ask their clients for is a written version of the incident shortly prior to the being charged and everything that occurred while the officer was charging the client with reckless driving and a copy of the clients driving record.
Frequently, the Virginia police officer or Virginia state trooper who stops an out of state client in Virginia will not get the driving record for that out of state driver. The driving record is critical because if the client has an excellent driving record, then the attorneys of SRIS, P.C. will have an additional factor to try and plea bargain the VA reckless driving charge to a lesser charge.
If the plea bargaining is successful, the prosecutor may agree to reduce the reckless driving charge to a lesser charge. However, the judge has to still approve the deal struck by the prosecutor and the lawyer. Most judges will approve the deal, but there is no requirement the judge has to take the deal.
If a plea bargain is not possible because some prosecutors will not plea bargain on reckless driving based on speed, then trial is the only option. The law in Virginia requires the officer who wrote the ticket to follow a series of steps to prove that they charged the right person with reckless driving. Some of the factors, the Virginia attorneys of SRIS, P.C. look at when defending a client charged with reckless driving by speed in Virginia is whether the police officer used:
The Virginia attorneys of SRIS, P.C. will also determine whether the officer’s calibration is current and thus can be used to charge a client with reckless driving by speed in Virginia.
Also, if you believe your speed was caused by the speedometer not functioning properly, then you owe it to yourself to have your speedometer calibrated. If you are able to prove that your speedometer was not working properly at the time you were charged with reckless driving in Virginia and you did know it was not working properly, then this may assist in your defense.
5) Since the Virginia attorneys of SRIS, P.C. represent clients who are frequently from out of state, they are asked by the client whether they have to drive all the way up from North Carolina, Florida, California, New York, etc. even though they are being represented by counsel.
The answer the Virginia lawyers of SRIS, P.C. give their clients is that by law, you have promised to show up in court by virtue of signing the Virginia uniform summons for reckless driving. However, it is not uncommon for the Virginia attorneys of SRIS, P.C. to represent out of state drivers without the client being present. Whether this can be facilitated is greatly dependent on the jurisdiction in which you received the Virginia reckless driving charge. One of the biggest factors to take into consideration is whether there is a real threat of being jailed. As stated previously, speeds in excess of 90 mph may result in incarceration. Some Virginia judges may go so far as issuing a bench warrant for the client who does not show up.
6) What can I do if I am convicted of Reckless Driving in Virginia & get a horrible penalty in the Juvenile District Court of Virginia or General District Court of Virginia?
If you have been convicted of a reckless driving in Virginia in the lower courts, you have an automatic right of appeal to the Circuit Court of that jurisdiction. After you file an appeal, you can have the matter set for a bench trial or a jury trial. Depending on the facts of your case, we will advise you as to what you should consider doing. If you elect to have a jury trial in Circuit Court, you will be judged by a jury of your peers. This may seem like you have a very good chance of not getting a harsh penalty or even possible getting the case dismissed but remember, if the jury does not like you for some reason, then they can give you the maximum penalty.
7) Can I be charged with reckless driving in Virginia for simply being in a fender bender accident?
Yes, even a simple fender bender accident can result in being charged with reckless driving in Virginia. Again, please remember that a charge of reckless driving in Virginia can be challenged in Court.
8) Definition of Reckless Driving in Virginia
The Virginia Courts define reckless driving in Virginia as an operation of a motor vehicle in such a manner that endangers life, limb or property.
RECKLESS DRIVING in Virginia will result in points and can be any of the following:
- Driving a vehicle which that is not under control or has faulty brakes.
- Passing a vehicle on a curve or on the crest of hill where the driver’s view is obstructed.
- Driving with the driver’s view obstructed or control impaired.
- Driving two abreast in a single lane.
- Passing another vehicle at a railroad grade crossing.
- Passing a school bus while discharging children.
- Failing to give proper signals.
- Driving too fast for highway and traffic conditions.
- Failing to yield the right-of-way.
- Speeding recklessly.
If you have been charged with reckless driving in Virginia, contact the Law Offices of SRIS, P.C. to get the representation you deserve. You can come see us in Northern Virginia in Fairfax and Manassas; in Fredericksburg & Richmond , if you have been charged with a reckless driving offense in Central Virginia; in Virginia Beach, if you received a reckless driving offense in the Hampton Roads/Tidewater Area; in Lynchburg, if you have been charged with reckless driving in any of the counties in Western Virginia.
You can call us at the following numbers:
Fairfax and Manassas – 703-278-0405
Richmond – 804-201-9009
Virginia Beach -757-512-2002
Lynchburg – 888-437-7747
Fairfax Court House Detail:
Fairfax Circuit Court
4110 Chain Bridge Road,
Fairfax, VA 22030.
Fairfax County General District Court
4110 Chain Bridge Road,
Fairfax, VA 22030.
Fairfax County Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court
4110 Chain Bridge Road,
Fairfax, VA 22030-4020.
These summaries are provided by the SRIS Law Group. They represent the firm’s unofficial views of the Justices’ opinions. The original opinions should be consulted for their authoritative content.