Reckless Driving Court Appearances in Fauquier County
If a person has ever received a Virginia citation for a traffic infraction, they may know it includes information on how to prepay the ticket. A reckless driving charge, however, will not include such information, meaning that a person’s appearance in court is required. If a person fails to appear in court on a reckless driving ticket, they may be found guilty in their absence or the court may issue a bench warrant for the person’s arrest, depending on the circumstances of the case.
Due to these circumstances, it is very important for a person charged with reckless driving to contact a Fauquier County reckless driving attorney. An experienced lawyer can explain to the defendant what they should expect at their reckless driving court appearance in Fauquier County and can help them prepare their case.
Elements of the Court
If an individual is charged with a reckless driving offense in Fauquier County, the case will be heard in the Fauquier County General District Court. This historic courthouse is located at 6 Court Street in Warrenton, Virginia at the corner of Waterloo Street, Main Street and Alexandria Pike.
Reckless driving cases are before a judge only if they are in the General District Court. If a person is found guilty in the General District Court, however, and they wish to appeal their case to the Fauquier County Circuit Court, they have an absolute right to do so. If they appeal to the Fauquier County Circuit Court, they then have the option of a bench trial, meaning another trial before a circuit court judge, or a jury trial, meaning a trial before a jury of the Fauquier community.
The prosecutors and judges in Fauquier County treat reckless driving cases very seriously. In particular, reckless driving cases involving alcohol, serious accidents, or very high speeds are prosecuted very aggressively.
If a person is charged with reckless driving, they should expect that their case will be handled in the Fauquier County General District Court. They should expect that the prosecutor may or may not have a chance to talk to the person unless the person is represented by counsel. If they are represented by counsel, they may have the opportunity to be heard on the merits of your case outside of the discretion of the judge.
The attorney may also be able to work out favorable terms to avoid a trial and potentially to avoid the reckless driving charge. This all depends on the unique facts of the case. If a person appears on the very first court date, the date on their summons, without an attorney but they wish to hire one, they should tell that to the court. The court will then grant the person a brief continuance in order to hire an attorney for their case.
Typically, reckless driving cases only involve evidence of the officer or law enforcement official’s testimony regarding the driver’s offending driving behavior. Other tests or evidence that are less common but sometimes introduced is video evidence or evidence of other witnesses. In addition, the prosecutor, through the law enforcement official, will need to introduce certain equipment evidence or certain foundational evidence regarding the reliability of any equipment used to determine speed. This may include the calibration of the speedometer, calibration of the odometer, or calibration of certain instruments used to determine speed, such as radar or lidar.