You’re doing what you always do—rushing to work, getting annoyed with other drivers, stressing out about multiple things. But this time, you see sirens in your rearview mirror, and you quickly realize he’s after you. A speeding ticket—what an inconvenience! However, when the cop starts talking about reckless driving, you are shocked. You might have exceeded the speed limit, and maybe you were weaving in and out of traffic a little, but is that really reckless driving? In Virginia, if the officer says it is—it is. What do you do now?
Call a Reckless Driving Defense Attorney
Far too often, when people get reckless driving tickets, they don’t think they did anything especially reckless, so they think they’ll beat the charge or that the judge will go easy on them. This is a big risk to take because if you are convicted of this Class 1 misdemeanor, you face up to a year in jail, a $2500 fine, loss of your license for six months, and six points on your driving record—not to mention having a criminal conviction on your record. So, how can an attorney help when you are facing these consequences?
Possible Reckless Driving Defense Strategies
An experienced reckless driving attorney will know exactly how to approach your case depending on the specific circumstances, your driving record, and other factors. Based on our many years of successfully defending people charged with reckless driving, we will develop a plan to defend you. Possible strategies include:
- Showing mitigating circumstances. While it generally doesn’t work for you to make excuses to the officer when you are pulled over—particularly if you are not being truthful—if your lawyer can provide proof that you had an emergency, the road was improperly marked, or there was another legitimate reason for the way you were driving, you could get the charges reduced or dropped. Also, presenting a clean driving record or agreeing to take a driver education course could sway the court to go easy on you.
- Questioning the validity of the stop. It is a violation of your rights to be pulled over for no reason. If your lawyer can show that that the officer did not have reasonable suspicion to pull you over or that he did not follow proper procedure after pulling you over, he might be able to get the charge overturned in court.
- Challenging accuracy of the radar or speedometer. These are tricky defenses to prove, but if your lawyer can show that the officer’s radar or LADAR equipment had not been recently calibrated or that your speedometer was inaccurate, that could convince a court to throw out the charge.
- Countering a general recklessness charge. Because a reckless driving charge is at the discretion of the officer, they could charge you without having real evidence of recklessness. If you were not going over 20 mph over the speed limit and did not cause an accident, and there were no other witnesses to your alleged recklessness, a lawyer could argue that the charge is unfounded.
- Negotiating a plea deal. At the very least, a skilled reckless driving defense attorney will try to get the best possible deal for you, even if he can’t get the charge thrown out. Arguing for no jail time, fewer points on your license, a reduced fine, or no license suspension can make a big difference in your future after a conviction.
While you might be tempted to represent yourself to save money, we strongly advise against it. These defenses require skilled negotiation and courtroom experience to be successful. As soon as possible after the ticket, we recommend contacting an attorney.
We Fight for Our Reckless Driving Clients
While it is true that a good defense attorney costs money, it will be well worth the investment if he can reduce or eliminate the criminal charge. If you get a ticket for reckless driving in Virginia, contact James E. Short, PLC, before you make any excuses. We will help you fight the charge and avoid the most serious consequences.