Fairfax Criminal Lawyer Answers 3 Typical Questions Drivers Have When Charged with:
Fairfax County Reckless Driving
If you are here because you or a loved one has been charged with a Virginia or Fairfax County reckless driving offense, then the chances are high that you have some very reasonable questions on your mind. Our Fairfax reckless driving lawyer is often consulted by those charged in Fairfax County, and based on the prevalence of three questions in particular, has provided the basic answers on this page. They are:
- How common are Fairfax County reckless driving charges?
- Do I need a lawyer? (specifically, what are the possible penalties and, how much does legal representation cost?)
- How much time will I miss from work?
On this page, our Fairfax criminal lawyer answers these questions. After reading, you may wish to refer to the infographic at the bottom of the page.
Should you wish to inquire further, or if you seek more information, our Fairfax reckless driving lawyer will speak with you free of charge: simply call us at 888.695.6565. Our firm will listen to your facts, and provide you with an analysis based on what you tell us. Ultimately, we are happy to explain to you what your case’s relative weak and strong points may be, as well as whether or not you have any potential defenses.
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Virginia Reckless Driving
Questions Answered by our:
Fairfax Reckless Driving Lawyer and
Fairfax Criminal Lawyer
Fairfax Criminal Lawyer Analyzed 1,738 Arrests:
How Common is a Fairfax County Reckless Driving Charge?
More common than you might think. Our legal team at Vincenzes Law, PLLC, headed by Fairfax criminal lawyer, Brenton D. Vincenzes, recently published a popular infographic to depict the most frequently charged offenses in Fairfax County.
Out of a total of 1,738 charges in a given period (during the year, 2013), 118 charges were the result of an alleged Fairfax County reckless driving violation. Thus, based on our analysis, it seems true that indeed, reckless driving is one of the most common criminal offenses charged in Fairfax County, Virginia.
While we have not performed an analysis to study the frequency of arrests arising from other jurisdictions in the Commonwealth of Virginia, it is our estimation that it is also a similarly common offense outside of Fairfax County.
Do I Need a Fairfax Reckless Driving Lawyer?
If you face a reckless driving charge in Virginia, you probably are wondering whether or not it is wise to have an attorney represent you, both legally and economically speaking. To address this question, we believe there are at least two important inquiries: penalties and costs. We discuss these two facets in turn:
- First, our Fairfax reckless driving lawyer discusses the maximum potential penalties, because to know what you are facing is particularly important when deciding whether or not an attorney would be a worthwhile expenditure.
- Second, our Fairfax criminal lawyer discusses the legal fees associated with reckless driving cases.
Maximum Fairfax County Reckless Driving Penalties
The maximum applicable penalties are the same as other Class 1 misdemeanors in Virginia. Before listing the aspects of the maximum sentence, however, please be aware that the actual penalties any person faces will depend upon dozens to hundreds of factors. We list some of these factors on this page, but it is impossible to list every possible factor without knowing the details of a particular case.
In Virginia, a Class 1 misdemeanor offense is punishable by:
- up to 12 months confinement
- up to a $2,500 (fine) + court costs
- loss of driving privileges
One of the worst consequences to a Virginia reckless driving conviction (not listed above, because it is not technically an enumerated statutory punishment), is due to the criminal nature of a reckless driving conviction in Virginia: a criminal offense will remain on an adult’s record forever. A criminal record can be expunged, but only if there is no finding of guilt. A criminal record can seriously impact job-related endeavors.
A driver’s criminal record is separate from his or her driving record. A person’s driving record (or, DMV record), is not for life, but a Virginia reckless driving conviction will result in points assessed by the Virginia DMV, and in turn, could lead to increased insurance costs and a possible suspended or revoked license, depending on the person’s record. Thus, both a charged individual’s driving record and criminal record will be negatively affected.
Despite the possible maximum penalties above, the sentence that a judge may hand down broadly depends upon several decisions made by the defendant and officials, including (but not necessarily limited to) whether or not:
- the defendant chooses to plead guilty or not guilty;
- a plea agreement is offered before a trial;
- the defendant accepts the offered plea agreement; and,
- the judge agrees to the plea agreement
note: for a plea agreement to be offered before the case is called, the defendant will need an attorney. This is due to the fact that police officers are not permitted to negotiate with defendants. But when an attorney does represent a party, he or she will be able to meet with the police officer and the prosecutor before trial. Sometimes, it makes sense to plead guilty to a non-criminal offense (such as improper driving or speeding), in order to avoid the possibility of being found guilty of reckless driving.
The case-specific factors which may relate to: how a defendant chooses to plead; the strengths and weaknesses of the case; potential defenses; and, the type of offer made by the Commonwealth Attorney…may include (but are not limited to):
- the accused’s driving record
- the accused’s criminal record
- the injuries resulting from any accident (if any)
- the alleged speed (if it is a speed-related reckless driving charge)
- the speed limit where the defendant is accused of recklessly driving
- the extent to which the defendant is accused of driving above the posted limit
- the type of driving behavior at issue
- the officer
- the jurisdiction
- the judge
- the Commonwealth Attorney assigned to the case or court docket
- driving conditions
- reason for driving a particular way
- medical condition(s)
- the way the officer obtained the information needed to charge the driver
- condition of the vehicle
- whether or not the officer used a radar, laser, or similar device to measure speed
- the status of the calibration certificate if radar, laser, or similar device was used to measure speed
- the status of the road where the alleged offense occurred
- the presence of another offense charged along with the reckless driving charge
- and many, many more potential factors.
Due to the vastly different facts present in each case, it truly only makes sense to consider the maximum potential punishments authorized by law after one speaks with an attorney. Upon discussing your case with our Fairfax reckless driving lawyer, you will then be able to assess the strengths, weaknesses, and possible defenses to your case. Additionally, our local Fairfax County reckless driving lawyer will be able to explain his or her experience defending people with similar facts to your case.
The Legal Costs
No Virginia criminal lawyer would be wise to publish a standard flat rate for all reckless driving cases. There are many reasons for this, but one big reason is because there is no standard defense strategy applicable to every defendant. That said, we can provide you with a range based upon our Fairfax County reckless driving lawyer’s experiences with various cases. These estimates do not in any way reflect what other lawyers might charge, but our fees are competitively priced.
At the lower end of the spectrum, one might pay as little as $500. At the other end of the spectrum, a fee around $2,000 may be more realistic. Below, we have described two hypothetical clients who exemplify the differing fees:
Example: Low End of the Virginia Reckless Driving Legal Costs Spectrum
- Driver is a U.S. citizen or has a verifiable legal status in the U.S.
- Driver has perfect driving and criminal records
- Driver accused of speeding 82 mph in a 70 mph zone
- Driver wishes to accept a plea bargain if it allows them to plead guilty to speeding, a non-criminal violation
Example: High End of the Virginia Reckless Driving Legal Costs Spectrum
- Driver has a lengthy arrest record
- Driver has previous reckless driving offenses and/or many speeding violations
- Driver accused of speeding 100+ mph
- Driver caused an accident, seriously injuring someone
- Driver wishes to plead not guilty and go to trial
To truly understand what your total legal cost may be, call our Fairfax reckless driving lawyer for a free case evaluation. You can visit our office to meet in-person, or if you prefer, simply speak over the telephone at 888.695.6565. Or, if you would prefer, you may submit an online case evaluation request.
How Much Time Should I Take Off from Work for a Fairfax County Reckless Driving Hearing?
Our Fairfax criminal lawyer understands how important it is to minimize time away from work. If you have children and do not work, then it may be similarly very important, as you may be paying by the hour for childcare. If you do not have an attorney to represent you, then you will likely be at court for a longer period of time.
In some jurisdictions in Northern Virginia, if you have an attorney, then you do not have to go to court at all. (But note: if you have another offense in addition to the reckless driving charge, such as DWI or DUI, then you will definitely need to appear). In such jurisdictions (Prince William County, for example), it depends on whether or not the Commonwealth seeks jail time in your particular case. Always plan to appear unless your attorney specifically tells you otherwise. This is especially an important point for out-of-state drivers. Sometimes, out-of-state drivers do not think they need to appear, but usually, they do (unless told otherwise by an attorney).
Generally, a represented person who agrees to a plea bargain will have his or her case called before most of the unrepresented defendants. The courts usually operate this way for the sake of efficiency. An unrepresented party or person who does not accept a plea agreement generally will be called later after others who have worked out a plea agreement, because if the judge knows a defendant will plead some way (other than not guilty), then it makes sense to call them first and move along the docket.
Sometimes, a traffic court docket is extremely large (some days, close to 200 people or more). Our Fairfax reckless driving lawyer has seen court dockets so long in Fairfax, that unrepresented parties are still sitting in the courtroom three hours after their scheduled hearing time (9:30 a.m. in most cases). On the other hand, our Fairfax criminal lawyer recently represented an individual in mid-September of 2013, charged with reckless driving, who was able to leave before 10:00 a.m.
In sum, the time you need to take off from work will depend upon whether or not you have an attorney. Second, it will depend upon whether or not you accept any plea bargain offered. Third, it will depend upon the number of other defendants who have an attorney to represent them. If you must tell a supervisor or person responsible for managing your time how long you will be out of the office on a particular day, it would be prudent to estimate about four to six hours hours, unless your lawyer instructs you differently.
Does Our Fairfax Reckless Driving Lawyer Solely Help Those Charged with a Fairfax County Reckless Driving Violation?
Our Fairfax reckless driving lawyer serves those charged in most areas in Northern Virginia. With an office location in Fairfax, however, we often are referred to by clients as their local Fairfax reckless driving lawyer or Fairfax County reckless driving attorney.
To wrap things up, remember:
- Reckless driving is a fairly common charge in Northern Virginia
- The penalties you may face depend upon a myriad of factors, but could be very serious
- The time you will spend at the Fairfax County Traffic Court or General District Court in the jurisdiction where you were charged will depend upon several factors, including how you wish to plead and whether you have an attorney.
The most important thing to remember is this: regardless of what you may find on the internet, it is best to articulate your case to a licensed Virginia criminal lawyer so he or she can offer you an analysis based on your specific facts and circumstances. Since each case is so different, and because everyone has a unique driving and criminal record, do not rely on anything you find on the internet when estimating your penalty or legal costs. Instead, take advantage of a free consultation from a Fairfax reckless driving lawyer or one of the many Fairfax criminal lawyers. Not all offer a free consultation, but many do, including Vincenzes Law, PLLC. Do not be worried about wasting our time, as we are always happy to talk.
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