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Reckless Driving Charges for Out-of-State Drivers

Every out of state driver should know that speeding tickets in Virginia are extremely serious and they come with the possibility of a criminal misdemeanor conviction. It’s very possible here in Virginia for somebody who’s excessively speeding to be charged with reckless driving instead of just speeding. This is something that needs to be taken very seriously because often, it will require an out-of-state driver to have to come back to the Commonwealth to appear in person. It also can have very long-term consequences if a conviction results, because it’s a permanent criminal conviction with the possibility of jail time.

How Virginia Treats Speeding

Virginia treats speeding differently from many other jurisdictions. They are very strict when it comes to speeding, and any person driving 20 mph or more over the speed limit may be charged with a misdemeanor reckless driving offense. This means that somebody driving at a speed in Virginia that in any other state would be considered a traffic infraction, will actually amount to a criminal misdemeanor here in Virginia. This is very serious because that kind of behavior can result in active jail time, which, for out-of-state drivers in particular, is a very difficult and inconvenient penalty.

Reckless Driving Charges for Out-of-State Drivers

An out-of-state driver who’s charged with reckless driving should contact a Virginia reckless driving attorney as soon as possible. Whether they need to appear in court really depends on how fast they were going. Some judges in Virginia will excuse an out-of-state driver charged with reckless driving from appearing in court if the speed is close to the line between speeding and reckless. The best thing to do is to contact a reckless driving defense lawyer to see if it’s possible for you to waive your appearance or not.

Checking the Ticket Issued

An out-of-state driver who has been ticketed for speeding in Virginia should make sure that what they’re being summoned for is actually a speeding ticket and not reckless driving. They should look very carefully at the document that was issued to them by the police officer to know for sure what the charge is.

On the document, it’ll state whether they’re charged with reckless driving or speeding. The difference is that if they’re charged with reckless driving, they will be required to return to Virginia in person, regardless of whether they have a lawyer, to answer to the charge in court. For speeding, it’s possible to get an attorney to appear on your behalf or, in the alternate, you can plead guilty by prepaying the fine online.

The ticket is very vague. There won’t be clear cut instructions for out-of-state drivers, but it will specify that if you’re charged with reckless driving, you don’t have the option to waive your appearance in court.

For a speeding ticket, which is simply a traffic infraction instead of a criminal misdemeanor, you do have the option and on the ticket it will clearly say that the driver is excused from having to appear in court if you so choose to do so, and will also provide information on how to plead guilty and pre-pay the ticket.

How a Virginia Reckless Driving Attorney Can Help

An out-of-state driver who’s charged with reckless driving should contact a Virginia reckless driving attorney as soon as possible. Whether they need to appear in court really depends on how fast they were going. Some judges in Virginia will excuse an out-of-state driver charged with reckless driving from appearing in court if the speed is close to the line between speeding and reckless. The best thing to do is to contact a reckless driving lawyer to see if it’s possible for you to waive your appearance or not.

If you want to fight the charge, a Virginia reckless driving lawyer can help by potentially appearing in court on your behalf. This is not always possible with reckless driving. It really depends on the situation, especially if it’s by speed. For speed-related reckless driving, it’s going to depend on how fast you are going and the state of your driving record. It requires that the judge agree to waive the defendant’s appearance, and a lawyer can help determine whether that’s a possibility.

Going to Court on Your Behalf 

Whether the lawyer can go to court on your behalf is going to depend on whether the judge approves the decision to have the appearance waived. Generally, it depends on how fast the person was going. If they were going at a truly excessive speed like 90 miles per hour or more or 30 miles per hour or more over the speed limit, generally judges will not allow defendants to waive their appearance and the lawyer won’t be able to appear for them.

Being unaware of Virginia’s traffic laws is not a defense. Anybody who is driving on Virginia’s highways is subject to Virginia law, and whether they have taken the time to make themselves familiar is irrelevant.