Fairfax Reckless Driving Lawyer
A reckless driving charge is a lot more serious than a typical traffic offense. Regular speeding tickets are only citations, which are called infractions in Virginia and do not carry the possibility of jail time. However, reckless driving charges are Class I misdemeanors with a penalty of up to a year in jail and a fine of $2,500. Virginia courts consider reckless driving to be extremely dangerous, as the code suggests that the driver imposed some kind of risk or endangerment to property or another person while driving.
This is why if you have been charged with reckless driving, you should seek the services of an experienced defense attorney. A Fairfax reckless driving lawyer could fight for you and help you avoid the serious penalties that come with a conviction.
Serious Impact of a Reckless Driving Conviction
It is important to know that reckless driving is far more serious than a speeding ticket. This is not an offense to take lightly. Reckless driving is a significant enough charge that it requires defendants to go to court, and if they do not show up, a bench warrant can be put on the individual.
If someone is convicted of reckless driving, they do not just receive points on their license. The penalties for reckless driving can be similar to a DUI.
A reckless driving conviction can also impact an individual’s job prospects. For instance, if they ever apply for a job and are asked if they have ever been convicted of a crime, they must answer yes even though it may seem like a simple traffic offense. Therefore, it may be in the person’s best interest to reach out to a Fairfax reckless driving lawyer.
Here’s more information about reckless driving charges in Fairfax:
- What to expect from a reckless driving charge in Fairfax
- First things to do in a Fairfax reckless driving case
- Out of state drivers and reckless driving in Fairfax
- Instruments used to track speed in Fairfax reckless driving cases
- Types of traffic offenses in Fairfax
How is Reckless Driving Charged?
Reckless driving is defined under the Virginia Code 46.2-852. If there is any kind of driving that can endanger the life, limb, or property of another person, then it is reckless driving. It is important to know that this is not charged onto every accident that the police show up for. When there is a motor vehicle accident, the police will respond and then do a preliminary investigation. The police will try to make a determination based on witness statements, damage to the cares, the type of damage and the location of the damage to determine who they think is responsible for the accident and if they police the liable party should be charged with reckless driving.
If the witness statements indicate that the person charged was driving erratically, was driving recklessly and they caused the accident, then that is the person that is likely going to get the ticket for reckless driving. If a driver has been injured, it is possible that even the injured driver could get a ticket for reckless driving if all of the witness statements and the damage to the cars are indicating that there is probable cause to believe that the person is the reason and the cause for the wreck.
Reckless Driving by Speed in Fairfax
Reckless driving by speed is one of the most common types of reckless driving charges. Someone can receive a reckless driving by speed charge in Fairfax by one of two ways:
- Driving over 80 mph
- Going 20 mph over the posted speed limit
Either one of these speeding issues will get an individual charged with reckless driving by speeding, which could lead to jail time. Also, it is important to know that drivers can be charged with reckless driving by driving too slow. Interstate signs have minimum speed limits and there are reasons for the signs. The low speed on the interstate can be just as dangerous as a high speed because other drivers are not expecting such a low rate of speed and then must break quickly or try to change lanes.
Are There any Legal Defenses for Reckless Driving by Speed?
In Virginia, the only legal defense defendants have for reckless driving by speed is that they were not actually going the speed they were accused of going. Sometimes this defense includes improper calibration, where the officer’s speedometer was showing that the driver was going 77 mph, but in reality, they were only going 71 mph.
There is not much of a legal defense to this charge because either the defendant was traveling by the alleged speed or not. When defending against reckless driving by speed charges, it typically consists of talking about ways to mitigate the claim or get it reduced through the way of pre-negotiations.
Reckless Driving by Accident
Reckless driving by accident is considered by law enforcement as more than just careless driving because the accident did not happen just by accident. The driver is usually either driving erratically, driving aggressively, or changing lanes too often. When a driver is charged with possibly endangering other people and if they did actually harm another person, then they are at more of a risk for a conviction and higher penalties. For more information about reckless driving by accident, reach out to a reckless driving attorney in Fairfax.
Defending Against Reckless Driving by Accident Charges
Defending against reckless driving by accident charges can be easier than fighting against reckless driving by speeding charges. There could be reasons behind why someone was reckless driving by accident.
For example, if a person is on their way to the hospital because their wife is having a baby and they happened to be driving more aggressively and are changing lanes often, then it is more of a defense for reckless driving. This is because this is something that they would not do under normal circumstances.
In these cases, the court is looking to see if the reckless driving is something the driver would normally do. There is a difference if this is a one-time offense because something out of the ordinary was happening than if there was not.
If the individual was charged with reckless driving and they were not at fault for the accident, then they should reach out to a dedicated Fairfax reckless driving lawyer. A seasoned attorney could build a strong defense to fight the reckless driving accusations.
Presenting Reckless Driving by Accident Cases in Court
In a reckless driving case, there are many different types of evidence that has to be presented. For a speeding charge, the officer will usually testify that they were tracking the driver by radar, lidar, or by pacing to determine that the defendant was driving recklessly by speed.
For a reckless driving case not involving speed, there is a different set of evidence that has to be shown. The evidence must show that the individual was reckless by the way they were driving, which is not always so cut and dried.
Sometimes the manner of driving does not seem reckless to the driver but it may be considered reckless by the officer. This is why it is critical for defendants to seek the services of a skilled Fairfax reckless driving attorney who has experience handling these types of cases.
Is the Evidence as In-depth as in Civil Car Accident Cases?
Reckless driving cases that cause an accident can be just as in-depth as regular car wrecks. It depends on what other charges there are and what the outcome or what the behavior caused.
If there was an accident and if there is some kind of property damage, then there can be a thorough investigation when gathering evidence.
Fairfax Reckless Driving by Vehicle Not Under Control
In Virginia, there are two ways to charge someone with reckless driving by code. By the code, it is either reckless driving by speed or general reckless driving. Reckless driving by vehicle not under control is not usually just a failure to yield or a simple left turn when the driver was supposed to turn right. However, if it was obvious that the driver should have known not to turn left and they turned left anyway, they could be charged with reckless driving.
Street racing is an example of reckless driving by vehicle not under control. In this situation, the drivers are not out in the middle of nowhere, they are actually in the street usually in the middle of the night. Street racing does not have to be a planned event either. For example, if two individuals get out of a college class and decide to race home just to have a good time, they could be charged with reckless driving if they drive in a way that is considered endangering to other people or property.
Fighting Against Reckless Driving by Vehicle Not Under Control Charges
There is a legal excuse for recklessly driving by vehicle not under control. For example, if the driver does not have the ability to control their car, which is a legal defense because the prosecution has to prove they were not controlling their car when they could have.
For instance, if the driver was using their phone and because they were picking up their phone or looking at their phone instead of focusing on driving the car and then lost control of the car, then that could be considered reckless driving.
However, if their brakes failed or their steering column seized up and it was not the result of the driver not paying attention, then it would be a legal defense because the loss of control was not anything the driver could have prevented.
How a Reckless Driving Charge Can Impact a Commerical Driver’s License
A reckless driving charge can make a significant impact on someone’s commercial driver’s license. In some cases for reckless driving by speed, the court can suspend their license, and that includes a CDO license in addition to a personal license. CDO drivers not only face possible court issues with driving offenses, but they also receive possible employment issues.
Most of the time, the driver has to inform their employer when they get a ticket or some kind of speeding violation on the road while they are employed, or even when they are driving a company vehicle. The driver’s company on their own, even without court action, can take action against their employees based on the ticket that is received.
A CDO driver would want to inform their employer immediately if they want to get backing from their employer. Even if it is just a simple letter from their employer stating they had a good driving record, they have been employed with the company for a while, and they are still able to maintain their employment if their license was not suspended. This could be helpful in court and a Fairfax reckless driving lawyer could use it when advocating on the defendant’s behalf.
First Steps an Attorney Will Take in a Reckless Driving Case
A reckless driving attorney in Fairfax will do a number of things to help build a defense. First, the lawyer will advise the defendant to explain the facts as to what happened the day of the charge and what the ticket looks like. The attorney could also get legal advice on what can be done about their case. This could include anything from the lawyer entering their appearance in the court case, attending court with them on their behalf, getting copies of their prior driver’s license records, reviewing any prior tickets or criminal records, and looking to see how those records could impact their current case.
The lawyer could then begin building a strong defense and look into mitigating options like reducing a reckless driving charge down to a simple speeding ticket so that the defendant is not facing a Class I misdemeanor.
Contacting a Fairfax Reckless Driving Attorney
A Fairfax reckless driving lawyer is familiar with the laws and knows the courts most intimately. An attorney could also look into all important aspects of the case like if there was an initial investigation, if the individual is facing any insurance claims, if there was any property damage, or if someone was injured.
Then, they are going to take that basic set of information that the defendant gave them, the preliminary information, and use their knowledge and skill to find any extra evidence that needs to be located or looked into. They could talk with the prosecutor on the case. Also, they could get discovery of any extra information, including body-worn camera footage by the officers involved.
The defendant may not have that or has no access to that information or those videos, but the attorney does. The lawyer can review those videos and decide what defenses if any they have, and if the officers even witnessed the reckless driving. If you are facing reckless driving charges, reach out to a dedicated Fairfax reckless driving attorney today. The sooner you contact a lawyer, the sooner they could begin fighting for you.