Loudoun County Reckless Driving Mistakes and Misconceptions
Unlike in many other states, Virginia takes a hard stance against reckless driving and therefore punishes those convicted with relatively severe consequences such large fines, jail time, and the suspension of driving privileges. Despite the presence of these laws, many people do not know the severity of reckless driving charges until they are charged and therefore make mistakes that could have easily been avoided. With these in mind, the following is information provided by Loudoun County reckless driving lawyer Patrick Woolley on common mistakes and misconceptions that he sees people make when facing reckless driving charges in the area. To learn more specific information for your case, call and schedule a consultation today.
What Are Some of The Most Common Misconceptions About Reckless Driving Charges in Loudoun County?
The most common misconception for reckless driving in Loudoun County is that it is not a serious offense. Reckless driving is certainly a very serious offense and it is a criminal charge that could have serious long term implications. The most common misconception I see is when a person charged thinks that simply by asking the judge or asking the officers to reduce the charge, then that will happen automatically. It does happen and certain cases are reduced regularly, however, there is no guarantee that a judge will reduce your reckless driving charge simply because your speed wasn’t very far over 20 miles an hour or over 80 above the limit.
Likewise, even if the accident is not serious, the judge is not required to reduce your reckless driving charge to something like improper driving or following too closely. Many times, a person charged with reckless driving will assume this will happen and unknowingly enter a plea of guilty. They are then convicted of reckless driving. So I think that’s the most common misconception I see every day.
Should An Individual Simply Pay The Fine Associated With a Reckless Driving Ticket?
Well, first of all you cannot prepay a reckless driving offense the way you can prepay the traffic ticket. The reason for this is because reckless driving tickets do not have a set pre-payable penalty. Speeding tickets do have a set pre-payable penalty, reckless driving tickets do not. A judge has discretion on what fine is appropriate and what jail sentence if any is appropriate. For example, a judge can give a fine of $300 on a reckless driving speeding ticket or can give a fine of $2500 for reckless driving by speed ticket.
There is no option for someone to pre-pay a reckless driving by speed ticket in Loudoun County. If someone does not show up for court they will be found guilty in their absence and the judge will then assess the fine. Typically, the fine for failing to appear and being found guilty in your absence is higher than if they had appeared.
What Makes Reckless Driving Charges in Loudoun County Unique?
Reckless driving charges in Loudoun County are unique because of the way that they’re dealt with. Certain jurisdictions throughout the Commonwealth have different methods of prosecuting reckless driving convictions. In some jurisdictions, the Commonwealth Attorney’s office does not get involved at all and the case is simply presented by the charging officer and the defense attorney, if there is one present. The judge then weighs the merits and decides whether or not the conviction should happen and what the punishment should be.
In Loudoun County, prosecutors represented by the Office of the Commonwealth Attorney do get involved in reckless driving cases. This is good for represented persons charged with reckless driving. What this means is that reckless driving defense attorneys, such as myself, can discuss the evidence with the prosecutor and other merits of the case. We can discuss the client’s background and other mitigating factors to try to come up with a favorable disposition, if possible. If after that discussion a trial is necessary, then I can discuss with my clients whether or not they would like to proceed with trial and whether or not they would like to accept an offer if one is made to them.