The following is information on reckless driving cases in Fairfax, Virginia. Due to the severity of this type of charge, it is likely in your best interest to contact a Fairfax reckless driving lawyer as soon as possible after you are charged. Call today to schedule a free consultation.
In Virginia, there are more than ten different ways to be charged with reckless driving. The most common is reckless driving by speed, which is driving 20 miles or more over the speed limit, or driving over 80 miles per hour regardless of the speed limit. There are also several ways to be charged under the category of “general reckless” driving. Those can include getting into an accident, where you put someone’s life or limb in danger by not paying attention to the roadway, making improper passes, improper turns, or driving on the wrong side of the road. It’s a very ambiguous statute in that “recklessness” is not a well-defined concept in that law.
In Virginia, reckless driving in general, or by speed, is a class one misdemeanor, the same level as a DUI. The penalties can include jail time, fines of up to $2,500, and loss of your license for up to six months. There are ways to defend against reckless driving; also, sometimes prosecutors are more willing to reduce reckless driving charges to other offenses that will not have the same permanent impact on someone’s record.
The law is the same everywhere in Virginia, but whether those localities seek and enforce the harshest punishments is up to individual prosecutors and judges. That is why it’s important to have an attorney who knows the prosecutors and judges and has a relationship with the different systems. They will understand which systems allow people to take a course and get their charges reduced, and which places tend to be more focused on jail time or license suspension.
They can also help the client prepare for all possibilities when they go to court so that they don’t think it will be one way and then find out that locality treats things differently. Even though the law is the same everywhere in Virginia, sometimes the focus of these localities and their prosecutors are different. As such, it’s important to have an attorney who understands the differences.
An attorney will focus on what types of things can be done before a court date that will help when we talk to the prosecutor and the police officer or ultimately go before the judge. Those things can involve completing a course in driver improvement, getting a speedometer calibration, securing a copy of ones driving record, or completing community service. We help the client understand what important elements the government must prove to make a case against them so that we have a potential defense and we’re ready to go on the court date if trial is the best tactical option. It’s important for the defendant to understand what their rights are if they choose to have a trial and they lose at trial. In Virginia, even if you lose that trial, you still have the right to appeal. You don’t have to simply accept what’s occurs on the first court date.
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