A reckless driving conviction can have serious repercussions. Unlike some of the other traffic citations you may have dealt with in the past, Virginia reckless driving is a criminal charge. This means that if you are found guilty, you face the possibility of hefty fines, jail time, and a criminal record that can affect your ability to find or maintain employment, obtain education, or housing in the future.
To avoid this risk, or at least reduce the severity of the penalties you may face, you need to contact a dedicated Arlington County reckless driving lawyer.
Our reckless driving attorneys will pursue every available angle to fight your case while providing you with the support you will need during this stressful time. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that this is merely another traffic citation that you can handle on your own. You will need the experience of an Arlington County reckless driving attorney to navigate the legal hurdles and potential pitfalls.
Reckless Driving Charges
In Virginia, reckless driving charges are determined by manner in which the vehicle is being operated and the speed at which it is being driven. Speeds in excess of 20 miles per hour over the posted limit or over 80 miles per hour on any roadway are considered grounds for a reckless driving charge.
Besides roadways, it is illegal to drive recklessly in parking lots or on roads under construction. Simply driving on a road that is closed to the public can invite a reckless driving charge in Virginia as well.
In addition, you can be charged with reckless driving by speed if the arresting officer believes you to be driving too fast for road conditions, regardless of the posted limit. In a situation in which adverse weather conditions such as heavy rain or snow are present, for instance, you can be charged with reckless driving even if you are not exceeding the speed limit.
On top of all these offenses, you can be cited, and convicted of reckless driving in Virginia if you:
- Pass a school bus when its red lights are flashing
- Pass an emergency vehicle such as an ambulance or fire truck or impede its progress
- Engage in drag racing
- Drive a vehicle with poorly functioning brakes
- Drive a vehicle that creates obstructions in visibility or control due to overload
- Failure to signal
- And much more
Reckless Driving Penalties
Reckless driving under certain circumstances may result in a Class 1 misdemeanor conviction in Virginia. While only a misdemeanor, it is still a criminal charge and you will have a criminal record. Fines up to $2,500 can be levied and you could face up to one year in jail. It is also quite possible that you will lose your driving privileges for up to six months and six demerit points will be added to your driver’s license.
Your conviction will be reported to your insurance providers, which will almost certainly result in an increase in premiums or even a removal of coverage. This is why it is so important to have competent legal counsel.
An experienced Arlington County reckless driving lawyer will work tirelessly to achieve an acquittal or, if that is not possible, have your charge reduced to the lesser infraction of improper driving, an offense that does not result in the same harsh penalties or criminal record that come with a reckless driving conviction.
Reckless Driving Defenses
Regularly-argued defenses in reckless driving cases include:
- Failure to follow procedural standards – Did the officer breach any standard or protocol in the process of ticketing or arresting you?
- Calibration of Speed Detection Equipment – Was the readout on the radar or speed detection device reliable?
- Calibration of Vehicle Speedometer – Was your speedometer properly functioning at the time of the incident?
- Witnesses – If the prosecution presents witnesses, is their testimony credible? What did they really see?
- Previous Driving Record – Is this your first offense? How long has it been since you were issued any other citation?
Felony Reckless Driving
If your alleged actions behind the wheel result in the death of another individual or individuals, or if you are found to be driving without a license due to suspension on a previous charge, you could be charged with a Class 6 felony in Virginia. In these instances you could face hefty fines, loss of your license for up to three years, and, possibly, up to five years in prison.
An Arlington Reckless Driving Lawyer Can Help You
Before you allow any of these things to happen to you, make sure you take the critical first step in securing dedicated and experienced legal counsel. Attorney Steve Duckett has extensive experience and dedication in the area of reckless driving law, and he will be able to analyze all of the circumstances surrounding your arrest and advise you on how best to conduct your defense. Contact his Virginia law office today for a free consultation.