Virginia Reckless Driving Defense
Out-of-state drivers making their way to the Hampton Roads region of Virginia have probably noticed signs cautioning them to watch their speed or risk being arrested for reckless driving. Even with the special warning, many people, both residents and out-of-state drivers, end up with a Virginia reckless driving charge. The defense team at the Law Offices of John W. Lee, P.C., is composed of outstanding reckless driving attorneys with more than 70 years of combined experience successfully defending drivers against the fines, DMV points and other consequences associated with a conviction.
What Is Reckless Driving in Virginia?
Most people usually think of reckless driving as driving that endangers motorists, pedestrians and others using the roads and highways. In fact, Va. Code §46.2-852 makes it a violation of the law to operate a vehicle on Virginia highways recklessly or in a manner that endangers another person’s life, limb or property. Reckless operation also includes operating a vehicle at a rate of speed that endangers others.
Va. Code §46.2-862 is the statute upon which most reckless driving violations are based. It defines reckless driving by the speed of the vehicle. The two instances of reckless driving based upon speed are the following:
- Driving at 20 mph or more above the maximum allowable speed limit
- Driving at speeds in excess of 80 mph
Motorists should keep in mind that a both types of reckless driving are misdemeanors, so they could be arrested for what might be nothing more than a speeding ticket in another state.
Defending Out-of-State Drivers
Drivers from other states who are charged with reckless driving could be forced to return to Virginia to appear for their court proceedings. Retaining a Hampton Roads Virginia law firm ensures them of having a lawyer with an unsurpassed knowledge of the laws and defense strategies in reckless driving cases. Depending upon the rules of the court in which a case is pending, an attorney might be able to appear on behalf of the individual for some or all of the scheduled court dates.
Possible Penalties for Reckless Driving in VA
A reckless driving conviction could include the following penalties:
- A fine up to a maximum of $2,500
- Up to 12 months in jail
- Driver’s license suspension for up to six months
Bear in mind that a Virginia reckless driving charge is a misdemeanor that leaves a person with a criminal record. Applications for employment usually include a question asking if the applicant has ever been convicted of a crime. A driver with a misdemeanor conviction for reckless driving must disclose it on the job application.
The reckless driving attorneys at the Law Offices of John W. Lee, P.C., understand the consequences of a misdemeanor conviction. Their aggressive and innovative defense strategies focus on securing the most favorable resolution possible. One option is contained in Va. Code §46.2-869. This statute gives judges the discretion to find a person guilty of improper driving instead of reckless driving.
Improper driving is only a traffic infraction, so it is not a criminal offense. A conviction does not result in a criminal record. Penalties are also less severe than for reckless driving with the maximum punishment being a $500 fine without a driver's license suspension.
Mitigating Factors That May Reduce a Reckless Driving Charge
Judges have discretion to reduce a charge to a lesser offense. Some of the factors that could persuade a judge to be lenient might include:
- Existence of a clean driving record: A clean or good driving record could influence a judge to reduce the charges or the penalties believing the current charge is out of character for the particular motorist.
- Speedometer error: Speedometers are calibrated when vehicles are manufactured, but years of use could result in inaccurate readings that prevent motorists from realizing the actual speed at which they are traveling
- Accuracy of device used by police to measure speed: Radar devices must be calibrated periodically to ensure they are accurate. An issue with a device’s calibration could cause a judge to dismiss a charge if there is reasonable doubt about the accuracy of the radar device.
- Emergency situations: The fact a person was driving at speeds in excess of the posted speed limits due to a medical or other emergency might persuade a judge to be lenient, but it really depends upon the nature of the emergency. A judge could believe the facts and circumstances of a particular situation might have been warranted a call to 911 rather than traveling at high speeds.
The defense attorneys at the Law Offices of John W. Lee, P.C. meticulously review the facts and circumstances of each case to identify defenses and mitigating factors present in each case. They use their years of experience representing people in courts throughout Newport News, Virginia Beach and other communities throughout the Hampton Roads region to develop a defense strategy they believe gives their client the best chance of winning.
DMV Points and Reckless Driving
The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles uses a complex system to track the driving records of motorists. Someone with a brand new license begins with no DMV points. Points are added for each year a motorist goes without any traffic ticket convictions. It is possible to accumulate up to five points in this manner.
A guilty plea or a conviction after trial to a traffic violation results in points being taken away. The number of points deducted depends upon the type of violation. For example, an improper driving conviction results in a motorist losing three points, but a reckless driving conviction is a six-point reduction.
These point deductions, referred to as demerit points, can result in the suspension of a driver’s license.
Even if a person does not have enough demerit points to warrant a driver's license suspension, the department could place the individual on probation.
Speak to a Hampton Reckless Driving Lawyer Today
The Hampton Roads reckless driving attorneys at the Law Offices of John W. Lee, P.C., have the knowledge and experience to offer individuals the best chance of avoiding the harsh penalties and consequences associated with a conviction.
John W Lee, P.C. has four convenient locations throughout Hampton Roads in Hampton, Virginia Beach, Newport News and Chesapeake. Contact them today at a law office convenient to you or call (757) 896-0868 to schedule a free and confidential initial consultation.