Spotsylvania Reckless Driving Lawyer
With Virginia traffic laws among the toughest in the nation, traffic offenses that would net mere citations in some states can leave Virginia drivers in search of a qualified and aggressive lawyer to handle their defense. Reckless driving in Virginia is a Class I misdemeanor, a criminal offense with consequences that mirror those of crimes such as assault and battery, shoplifting, marijuana possession and more. With heavy fines and a jail sentence at stake, it is best to prepare a defense with representation from an experienced Spotsylvania reckless driving lawyer.
Law enforcement officers have discretion to determine when you should be charged with reckless driving. In many cases, a simple moving violation could be escalated to a charge of driving recklessly. For this reason, if you are accused of committing this offense, contact a reckless driving lawyer in Spotsylvania County to help you respond to this charge.
Reckless Driving in Spotsylvania County
Under Virginia Code Section 46.2-852, you may be charged with reckless driving if a law enforcement officer believes that you drove in a manner that endangered the “life, limb, or property,” of other motorists, pedestrians, or bicycle riders. Unfortunately for drivers, it is not always clear what behaviors will be interpreted as reckless enough to endanger others. This means that you could be charged with a reckless driving offense even if you were not aware you were committing a crime.
In addition to Section 46.2-852, which includes the broad “general rule” of reckless driving, other specific defined behaviors can be reckless driving as well. Some of the different kinds of behaviors that could result in a charge of reckless driving and warrant contact with a Spotsylvania County reckless driving lawyer include:
- Aggressive driving.
- Exceeding a posted speed limit by 20 MPH or greater.
- Traveling at a speed of 80 MPH or faster.
- Driving too fast for the current road conditions, even if you aren’t exceeding the road’s speed limit.
- Failure to yield to an ambulance or other emergency vehicle.
- Passing a stopped school bus.
- Passing in a “no passing.”
- Street racing.
- Driving with brakes that don’t work.
If you have been charged with reckless driving, you have the right to confront your accuser. A Spotsylvania reckless driving lawyer can represent you in court and help you to argue that your behavior did not rise to the appropriate level to be considered reckless.
Penalties for Reckless Driving in Spotsylvania County
VA Code Section 46.2-868 indicates that reckless driving is a Class 1 misdemeanor offense. Those convicted of a Class 1 misdemeanor could face up to a twelve months of jail time and a fine of as much as $2,500 according to VA Code Section 18.2-11. If the reckless driving offense involved the use of a handheld cell phone or other electronic device, there is also a $250 fine tacked on to any other penalties for conviction.
A conviction for reckless driving is also going to affect your driving record as well as your criminal record. You will receive six demerit points, which will stay on your driving record for 11 years. If you receive 12 demerit points in a year, you are required to attend a driver improvement class. A total of 18 demerit points results may result 90 day suspension of your driver’s license.
How a Spotsylvania County Reckless Driving Lawyer Can Help
You do not have to accept that you are guilty of reckless driving just because an officer claims you behaved with a disregard for safety. You can question the law enforcement officer’s account of events, and you can argue there is insufficient evidence that you violated the law. In Virginia General District Courts, you present evidence to a judge, rather than a jury. However, the judge must still determine guilt beyond a reasonable doubt and any finding of a General District Court is subject to appeal de novo, to the Circuit Court.
A Spotsylvania reckless driving lawyer will advise of your rights and potential strategy options considering the specific facts of your reckless driving case. It may be in your best interest to negotiate with the officer or prosecutor, or challenge the evidence with a plea of not guilty. Your attorney can also help you to explore other possibilities including plea bargaining to reduce the severity of the charges and penalties. The right options for responding to reckless driving vary based on your particular case, so call an experienced Spotsylvania County reckless driving attorney today for a free case evaluation. For information on other criminal charges and defenses in Spotsylvania visit our Spotsylvania Criminal Defense page.