Thomas Soldan on Defending Criminal Cases in Various Virginia Counties
Thomas Soldan, an experienced Virginia criminal lawyer, answers questions about handling criminal cases in different Virginia counties.
What makes defending cases in Loudoun County different from other counties?
Thomas Soldan: Loudoun County is different because there are a lot of different types of highways in Loudoun where people drive different speeds that could constitute reckless driving. They can get charged with reckless driving based on improper passing, reckless driving based on speed, or reckless driving based on being involved in or causing an accident. One of the things that people need to be aware of is that Loudoun County only has one highway on which the speed limit is above 55 miles per hour, which is the Greenway that connects Leesburg to Dulles Airport and has a 65 mph zone. In other jurisdictions, there is an interstate highway system cutting through and other high-speed roads that may have 60, 65, or 70 mph limits. Loudoun County doesn’t have those. There are not as many places in which an extraordinarily high speed can be generated without the driver realizing that it’s dangerous, so Loudoun County takes high-speed cases very seriously. They have roads that are very highly traveled by commuters as well as a lot of people traveling on country roads. There are a lot of country roads in Loudoun, so there is a lot of deer and wildlife, as well as school buses and other things of which drivers need to be aware. The residents of Loudoun and the courts take protecting their roads very seriously.
Experienced Virginia criminal defense attorney Thomas Soldan answers questions about defending against criminal charges in different Virginia counties.
What makes handling cases in Fairfax County unique?
Thomas Soldan: Fairfax County has Interstate 66, part of the Beltway, and Interstate 95 essentially making three of its borders. With those major interstate highways, people are traveling at high speeds. They are traveling in excess of 70, sometimes even 80, miles per hour. Even though driving over 80 mph is reckless driving, there are a lot more of those cases in the 80-90 mph range. It’s a lot more common so it is seen a lot more frequently by the courts. There are ways to mitigate those high speed charges versus an area that’s a lot more rural.
Fairfax is the biggest court system in the Commonwealth of Virginia in terms of the number of cases handled. Its court has anywhere from five to eight traffic courts running each day. Loudoun only has one or two courtrooms handling traffic cases each day. The number of cases is different. There is also potentially less access to prosecutors and officers in Fairfax, versus Loudoun, where the attorney has local relationships and will potentially have more time to discuss the client’s case with the prosecutor and the officer.
What makes handling cases in Fauquier County unique?
Thomas Soldan: Fauquier County is much smaller than Loudoun. It’s very rural. We have a historic courthouse that’s been there since the 1860s. The traffic docket isn’t even every single day; it’s a couple times a week. There is a lot more to be concerned with as far as traffic. Interstate 66 cuts through it, as well as Virginia routes 29, 28, and 17. All of those local routes provide opportunities for people to drive fast. It’s an area in which high speed is very much frowned upon, and people need to be especially cautious in Fauquier County to make sure they drive safely and slowly. That is a jurisdiction that has taken the opportunity to demonstrate that high speed is not acceptable.