Falls Church Reckless Driving Lawyer
In Falls Church reckless driving represents a whole variety of different moving violations. Typically these include any kind of operating of a motor vehicle in a reckless manner that endangers life, limb or property. The most common type of reckless driving in Falls Church is by excessive speed which can be charged when someone is driving 20 miles/hour over the posted speed limit or driving 80 miles/hour at any speed limit.
In Virginia, this offense is a class 1 misdemeanor making it punishable by up to 12 months in jail, a fine of up to $2500, and a license suspension for 6 months. As a result it is important to get in contact with a Falls Church reckless driving lawyer as soon as possible to begin building a defense. An experienced defense lawyer in Falls Church can help examine the facts and circumstances of the situation and mitigate the damage as much as possible. To learn more or discuss your case, call and schedule a consultation today.
How Reckless Driving is Charged
Reckless driving can be charged in a variety of ways as there is actually a catch-all category of reckless driving which can include anything that a police officer deems to be reckless behavior on the road.
In addition to excessive speed other situations where reckless driving can be charged include when someone passes a stopped school bus that is loading or unloading passengers, when someone passes an emergency vehicle with its lights on, when someone is driving too fast for current weather conditions, when someone is drag racing or driving with the knowledge that their brakes are faulty.
Differences From a Speeding Ticket
Reckless driving is different from a speeding ticket because reckless driving is a higher offense. Speeding is just an infraction whereas reckless driving from excessive speed is a criminal misdemeanor. Usually a person can tell if they have been charged with reckless driving by looking at the document that they signed when the law enforcement officer pulled them over. In this document there is a section that will determine whether it is reckless driving or speeding.
Typically the easiest way is that the officer will write down on the driver’s paper ‘Reckless Driving’ and then write their speed. If it just has the speed and it is unclear whether it is reckless driving or speeding, right below that is a little box that is checked if the driver doesn’t have to appear in court. If they do not have to appear in court then it is most likely that it is a speeding ticket. If they do have to appear in court then it is more than likely a reckless driving ticket. Another way to tell is by going on the Virginia Court Information System Website, looking up the name and seeing what the charges are and whether they should be an infraction or a misdemeanor.
What to Expect
The process of a reckless driving case in Falls Church is fairly simple. It is all handled in one day in court. You should expect that you will appear in court alongside the police officer that charged you originally. The judge will ask the officer first what happened and the officer will testify. You can then cross examine the officer and ask him any questions related to what his testimony included. Then you can provide your own testimony which the police officer or the judge may question you about as well.
After all the evidence has been presented the judge will then make his decision right then and there and issue your sentence. If you are pleading guilty then the officer’s testimony will only go towards sentencing. If you are pleading not guilty then there is a possibility that the evidence presented can result in having your case dismissed or reduced.
In Falls Church reckless driving is punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2500. Conviction also results in 6 demerit points on somebody’s driving records which will come off after 2 years, but the conviction remains on records for 11 years. Reckless driving can also lead to a 6 months suspension of someone’s driving privileges.
For speed related reckless driving charges, the penalties tend to increase as the speed charges increase as well making it important a reckless driving lawyer in Falls Church is contacted.
Benefits of a Falls Church Reckless Driving Attorney
The role of a Falls Church reckless driving lawyer is ultimately to cast reasonable doubt on the evidence presented in the police officer’s testimony in an effort to have the charge of reckless driving reduced technically to improper driving or even better, dismissed altogether. An experienced attorney can do this by presenting evidence in their client’s defense as well as providing a strong cross examination of the testimony of the police officer and the witnesses.
Local experience is very important in reckless driving in Falls Church because this is a specific type of offense that is charged differently than many neighboring jurisdictions. Each jurisdiction comes down a little differently on reckless driving and it is important to have local counsel who is going to know what to expect from particular judges and can react accordingly with good defenses or strategies.