A criminal traffic charge is not a simple citation or moving violation. Reckless driving in Virginia is a class I misdemeanor that carries the possibility of a suspended license, significant fines, and even jail time. Furthermore, conviction of a criminal traffic offense leads to a criminal record without provision for expungement. If you are arrested and ultimately convicted, you could have a permanent criminal record that can jeopardize future opportunities for employment and education. Even a simple traffic stop can lead to a criminal conviction. Do not take your traffic charge lightly; get skilled legal defense from a qualified Virginia reckless driving lawyer.
- What is Reckless Driving?
- Reckless Driving Penalties
- How Your Attorney Can Help
What Is considered Reckless Driving In Virginia?
Everyone knows that a traffic violation, such as speeding, can result in a traffic ticket. Even the most law-abiding citizen can easily end up with a traffic ticket if they are unaware of the speed limit or make a simple mistake. However, in some cases, speeding or any other type of moving violation can lead to much more stringent penalties, including a criminal charge with potentially serious consequences.
Excessive speed—traveling more than 20 miles per hour above the posted speed limit or driving at more than 80 miles per hour regardless of the posted limit–is one traffic offense that can result in a criminal charge. Other examples of violations that could result in a criminal conviction include but are not limited to:
- Weaving through traffic or other aggressive driving
- Failing to yield to an emergency vehicle
- Passing a stopped school bus
- Drag racing
Simple carelessness or lack of attention can cause a number of these actions; they are not generally malicious or intentional. Still, traffic offenses that are considered dangerous to others often meet with reckless driving charges. For the accused, the prospect of jail and a criminal record seem unfathomable, especially for someone who has never run afoul of the law and whose actions were not deliberately reckless or dangerous. Your first step in protecting yourself from unjust or unnecessary consequences is calling a Virginia reckless driving attorney with the skills to handle your case.
Penalties For Reckless Driving
As a Class I misdemeanor offense, reckless driving is considered equivalent to driving under the influence (click here for more information on Virginia’s new DUI laws). Legal penalties for reckless driving in Virginia include up to one year in jail, a six-month driver’s license suspension, and a fine of up to $2,500.
A conviction for reckless driving also includes administrative penalties such as six demerit points against one’s driver’s license, which could lead to further suspension and exorbitant automobile insurance rates. If you were to accrue another reckless driving conviction and six more demerit points, you may have to complete a driving course in addition to the other punishments, and six more demerit points (for a total of 18) within a year could lead to a suspension of driving privileges. If you rely on your car to get to work each day, that could put you in a serious bind.
The personal consequences of a criminal conviction, besides the social stigma, include a permanent criminal record appearing in background checks for employment, housing, financial loans, and education.
Our reckless driving lawyers fully comprehend the seriousness of your charge. We understand that you likely did not intend to endanger others with your driving, and that you are surprised and confused that your traffic stop resulted in a criminal charge that could lead to jail time. We are experienced defense attorneys with countless hours before local judges and juries. We are committed to protecting the rights of those facing criminal charges for serious traffic violations in Virginia, and out skilled legal team stands ready to offer you sound advice and solid defense in your reckless driving case.
How A Reckless Driving Attorney Can Help You
Unlike with a typical traffic ticket, you cannot simply mail in your payment for a reckless driving summons. It is a criminal charge, and you may face conviction and additional penalties beyond the fine. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding your case, you do not have to plead guilty. You have alternatives for avoiding conviction, and a skilled attorney can help. In some cases, if you are represented by an attorney, he or she may appear in court on your behalf, saving you the time and hassle of a court appearance, which is particularly useful if you are an out-of-state driver charged with reckless driving in Virginia.
If you were just traveling through the Commonwealth of Virginia from a state that does not issue reckless driving tickets and arrests in the same manner, it may be difficult to understand or anticipate what type of charge you are facing or the penalties that you could be facing with a conviction. You will also need to face that charge in Virginia, so it is smart to hire a local Virginia reckless driving attorney who has experience dealing with this type of case and getting their clients positive results. Our team includes a former Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney, which gives us great insight into the ways that these cases are typically prosecuted.
Though the facts of every case are unique, our attorneys have a proven record of success in complicated cases, working diligently for a positive outcome that may include dismissal, acquittal, or reduction in charges or penalties.
Over the past 100 years, the population of Fairfax County has seen a consistent, strong increase. As of the census in 2010 the County was home to just over one million people. Fairfax County also contains sections of very busy commuter roads like I-95, I-66, I-395 and the Beltway. The Beltway can cause serious issues in terms of reckless driving since some violations that might result in a simple traffic ticket in the state of Maryland could be considered a criminal violation just a few miles down the road.
If you have been charged with reckless driving in Fairfax County and you rely on your driving privileges to get to work each day, you can’t afford to take your defense lightly. Our attorneys have experience handling cases at the County Courthouse on Chain Bridge Road in Fairfax.
Prince William County is experiencing incredibly rapid growth. The 2010 census reported over 402,000 citizens, which represented a 43.2 percent increase over the 2000 total of just under 281,000. With a greater population comes more traffic, and an increased likelihood that you could be involved in a car accident. With the Commonwealth and the police working hard to keep these roads safe, any act of reckless driving could result in a criminal charge.
The District Court for the County of Prince William, which also serves the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park and the towns of Dumfries and Haymarket, is located at the facility on Lee Avenue in Manassas. If your case eventually goes to trial, you will want someone by your side that has handled these cases and has been successful defending their clients. Schedule a free consultation with a Virginia reckless driving attorney to find out how we can help you.
As Northern Virginia continues to grow as a vibrant community, so does Alexandria, one of the most dense residential and commercial regions in the area. After a brief lull in the 1970’s, Alexandria has experienced fairly routine growth for the last 30 years, topping out with an estimated 144,000 residents in 2011. The major roadways in Alexandria typically lead into and out of the District of Columbia, and if you are pulled over on the Virginia side, you could be potentially face steep criminal charges for reckless driving.
Reckless driving cases, along with other traffic and criminal violations, will be heard at the courthouse complex on King Street. We know what the Commonwealth’s attorneys are looking for in these cases and what type of evidence they need to convict.
Arlington County has always been one of the most populated localities in the area, and it has grown by double-digit percentages in each of the last three censuses. The high amount of commuters in this area means that the roads are crowded throughout the day. When there are more cars on the road, an act that could be considered a typical traffic ticket on an empty road could be interpreted and charged as reckless driving.
Our attorneys know what it takes to win these reckless driving and speeding cases in Arlington, and we will be able to help you if your case is heard at the courthouse complex on North Courthouse Road in Arlington.
A skilled attorney can uphold justice and protect your rights by carefully analyzing your case to build the strongest possible defense. To speak with a reckless driving lawyer in Virginia, call (703) 995-6429 today. Our lawyers offer a free evaluation of your case to get you started. Do not leave your record to chance. Fight your charge with the help of a top-quality lawyer.