Speeding offenses can be very serious in Prince William County. They start with simple traffic infractions and rise to the level of a criminal offense depending on the speed of a person’s vehicle. A speeding ticket lawyer in Prince William County can help you understand the difference between the various levels of charges.
Speed traps are another way in which a speeding offense can occur. An attorney can also help you build a strong defense so that your charge is reduced or dismissed altogether, or at the very least that your penalties are less severe than they would be if you went in by yourself.
In Prince William County, there is general speeding which is a traffic infraction, and there is also a criminal charge of reckless driving which is excessive speeding. The difference between these is that a traffic infraction is punishable by a fine and will only affect your driving record, whereas a criminal infraction affects not only your driving record but also your criminal record. Reckless driving is also punishable by a jail sentence and license suspension.
Reckless driving includes a list of other moving violations, one of which is excessive speed. Being charged with reckless driving is more serious than being charged with a speeding ticket, even though the behavior is similar.
In Prince William County you can expect that a speeding ticket will be a serious offense because Virginia is really strict with its driving laws. There are speed limits posted everywhere you can drive and it is unlikely that you will be let off the hook for a speeding violation. You should look on your ticket to make sure that what you are actually charged with is in fact the traffic infraction of speeding and not reckless driving, which is a criminal offense.
It is very easy for someone to be charged with reckless driving and mistake it for just simple speeding, because all it takes is a difference of one mile per hour to go from a traffic infraction to a reckless driving ticket. Therefore, the penalties for a speeding ticket can significantly increase depending on what you have been charged with.
You are not legally mandated to show up to court for a speeding ticket. You do have the option of paying the fine in advance or within 30 days from your court date. The problem with doing this is that it is an admission of guilt for the charge.
The best thing to do is to fight the charge no matter what, because even if you are guilty and the charge is not reduced or dismissed, you can still argue sentencing, which can result in a lesser charge or a lesser consequence.
This is different from reckless driving. Because reckless driving is a criminal offense, you are obligated to go to court. You do not have the option to prepay reckless driving and you have to be there in person to answer to the charge. If you fail to appear, the Court may issue a bench warrant for your arrest.
In Prince William County, an officer will try to prove that you are speeding by using specialized equipment such as radar and LIDAR equipment, or by pacing your vehicle. Pacing is when the officer follows behind a targeted vehicle while matching the speed, and then determines the vehicle’s speed by looking at his own speedometer.
While each case is going to be a little bit different with its own unique facts and problems, an experienced Prince William County speeding ticket lawyer is going to have a good general idea of what you can expect from your specific facts. Someone who goes in and follows the advice of a friend who was in a similar experience does not have the advantage of knowledge about hundreds of other cases which contribute to the more likely outcome.
An experienced Prince William County speeding ticket attorney has seen the judges in action and knows what to expect from each judge, as well as what each jurisdiction values. This makes it possible to adequately prepare strong defenses and possibly help your case.
This can include taking a driver improvement class, doing community service, or getting your speedometer calibrated. These options are not going to help every single situation, however, so having an attorney who can figure out when they are appropriate is to your advantage.
Someone who has been issued a ticket while visiting the area from out-of-state will also benefit from hiring local counsel to represent them in court. This way, the person who has been issued a citation will not need to return to the area and face the charges in court.
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