Warrenton Reckless Driving Attorney
If you are charged with reckless driving in Warrenton, Virginia, you may not realize what you are really up against. Though some states view reckless driving as a traffic offense, reckless driving is a Class 1 misdemeanor in this jurisdiction. That means that those convicted of such a criminal offense face the possibility of jail time, fines of up to $2,500, and the suspension of their license for months, if not years. All these reasons should make it clear that if you are facing such a charge, you will need to hire a Warrenton reckless driving lawyer to provide the strongest possible defense. Another serious driving offense is driving under the influence (DUI) in Warrenton.
Facing charges of reckless driving in Fauquier County without an attorney can be daunting. Contact an experienced attorney to help you mitigate the damages that may come attached to a reckless driving charge.
What is Reckless Driving?
Reckless driving is actually an umbrella term that applies to a number of offenses. It is a general rule that holds that anyone who drives a vehicle in a reckless manner or at a speed that endangers the health of others and property may be charged with reckless driving. See Section 46.2-852. All the offenses tend to stem from the same general issues:
- Excessive speed
- Failure to maintain control of a vehicle
- Lack of regard for the safety and welfare of themselves and others
Driving offenses that may qualify as reckless driving include:
- Driving more than 80 mph or more than 20 mph over posted speed limits
- Overtaking/passing an emergency vehicle
- Malfunctioning brakes and improperly maintained vehicle
- Driving too fast for road/weather conditions
- Passing on or at the crest of a grade or on a curve (Section 46.2-854)
- Driving with an obstructed view or control impaired
- Passing another vehicle at a railroad grade crossing
- Failing to give proper signals
- Failure to yield right-of-way when merging onto highway
- Passing two vehicles abreast
- Driving two abreast in a single lane
Reckless Driving Penalties in Warrenton
The maximum statutory penalty is twelve months in jail, six months suspension of your Virginia driver’s license and a fine of up to $2,500. You will also end up with six points assessed against your Virginia driver’s license for 11 years.
If you are licensed in another state, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will report the suspension to that state. Many states, and Washington, DC, honor suspensions from other states and will suspend licenses of their own residents when they are notified.
Reckless Driving Defense Strategies
The courts and authorities are allowed a certain amount of discretion in how reckless driving charges – and penalties – are handled. This means that a driver who has a skilled Warrenton reckless driving lawyer may see the charge dismissed or reduced, depending on the circumstances of their case. Courts may also opt to lessen the penalties for those convicted, or a prosecutor or court might agree that a lesser traffic offense makes more sense (which would reduce the potential penalties and the possibility of you ending up with a criminal record).
Some jurisdictions allow those charged with “reckless by speed” offenses to attend a driver improvement program in lieu of jail time or significant fines. Various factors are taken in account, including the nature of the alleged offense, your disposition with the officer at the time of the traffic stop, and whether or not you have a history of reckless driving or other traffic violations and criminal offenses.
It’s important to remember that though the criminal proceedings are intimidating, the Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were driving recklessly. Every element of the case provides you with a possible defense, with one of the most commonly cited defenses revolving around the accuracy of the officer’s assessment, including radar gun readings. Speed cameras and radar guns must be properly calibrated and their accuracy must be documented. Talk to a Warrenton reckless driving lawyer to give you more information on this and help you build your defense.
Other possible defenses may include, but are not limited to:
- Faulty speedometer
- Lack of sufficient proof or road conditions
- Failure to show on the part of the officer