There are many misconceptions regarding reckless driving in Virginia. Many times people do not even realize that something they think is a minor traffic infraction is actually considered reckless driving. This is why it is essential for people who are accused of reckless driving to consult with a Virginia reckless driving lawyer.
People are extremely surprised and taken aback by the severity of potential reckless driving penalties that they could face if convicted. Driving at a high speed is something that a lot of people do on a regular basis, but they have no idea what the potential consequences are if they are pulled over.
A common misconception about reckless driving in Virginia is that you can be convicted by driving fast. There does not have to be an accident. There does not have to be a near accident. There does not have to be aggressive driving such as cutting people off. It can be something as simple as speed or passing a vehicle on a curve. The person might think that it is completely safe to do, but under the code that could be deemed to be reckless driving.
The most common mistake in reckless driving cases is when people do not take the charges seriously. It is not uncommon for people to not understand how serious the consequences may be. They show up to court and plead guilty because they just want to get it over with and see people in front of them doing the same thing. They plead guilty, but they do not realize that they are going to have six demerit points on their license and their insurance will go up. A lot of people do not realize that it is a criminal offense and that they will have that offense on their record.
The biggest mistakes that people make are not taking the charge seriously enough, not seeking the advice of counsel, and simply accepting responsibility or pleading guilty without anyone taking a second look at the case to see if there is something that could be argued in order to fight it.
Virginia is unique in that it has reckless driving by speed. For instance, in Maryland, there is no such thing as reckless driving just by virtue of speed. In Virginia, if you get stopped going 82 miles per hour, you are issued a summons for reckless driving. You must appear in court, and you cannot just prepay that ticket. That is one major difference.
The reason why you cannot not prepay the ticket is because it is a jail-able offense, so the person is required to appear before a judge to answer to that charge. In that particular case, the summons is akin to an actual arrest. This is one difference.
Another fundamental difference is the fact that a reckless driving charge, even just for speeding, is a misdemeanor offense whereas it’s simply an infraction in many other states. Not only does it carry the sanctions of demerit points, jail time, and suspension of your license, but it is also an actual criminal conviction, which is very unique compared to other states’ traffic laws.
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