Most adults who have been driving in the Commonwealth for more than a year or two know that the Virginia reckless driving law is harsh…more accurately, the categorization of reckless driving in Virginia as a Class 1 misdemeanor is what creates the severe potential repercussions, and why this offense is taken to seriously. This post includes a discussion of two commonly requested tasks that as a Fairfax reckless driving lawyer, I regularly ask (some, not all) reckless driving clients to do before court. I explain the reasoning behind these tasks, but they ultimately serve to greatly help a defendant’s case.
There are many reckless driving laws in Virginia — over a dozen. If you are reading this because you were recently charged with reckless driving, chances are high that your case involves speeding 20 mph or more over the limit, more than 80 mph, or perhaps you are alleged to have taken a reckless action behind the wheel. Speed-related reckless driving cases are the most common, at least in my professional experience. But other types of reckless driving offenses include failure to maintain control, and general reckless driving. If you want to find out about all of the different Virginia reckless driving laws, visit our primary reckless driving information page.
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As a Fairfax reckless driving lawyer (though my firm serves all counties, cities, and courts in Northern Virginia), this page is meant to help those charged with reckless driving learn what they may expect a lawyer to tell them to do. But nothing on this page is legal advice, and should not be relied upon. There is no substitute for talking to a legal professional.
Out of State Drivers: Surprised to Learn Penalties for a
Virginia Reckless Driving Law Violation
Before mentioning the two tasks I often ask my clients to perform before their case date, I want to disclose that only one will apply if you are a Virginia driver (meaning you have a Virginia driver’s license).
As a Fairfax reckless driving lawyer serving all of Northern Virginia, I get calls from people who live in Maryland and the District of Columbia quite frequently. Even people in states hundreds of miles away have contacted my office for representation for an alleged violation of a Virginia reckless driving law. It is one of the most frequently charged crimes in the Commonwealth of Virginia, at least according to our last arrest-data analysis.
Knowing what lies ahead is comforting, and because I have helped so many people get through stressful times, I understand the value and truth to the phrase,
knowledge is power.
Conferring knowledge to you, the reader, is what this post is ultimately about. Knowledge of what lies ahead may come in many forms, and the 2 tasks I am about to disclose are but one example. Other ways a lawyer confers knowledge and adds value to his services may be though the guidance and explanations relating to:
- what may happen in a worst case scenario;
- best-case scenario;
- monetary fine;
- jail possibility;
- driving points and
- insurance issues;
- what kinds of offers an experienced Virginia reckless driving lawyer may be able to negotiate in the jurisdiction where you face the charge.
While the above points are more obvious and easier to understand than those listed below, consider whether or not you would gain peace of mind in knowing the answers to all of these inquires. Most people would find themselves far more at ease. It is natural for humans to be afraid of the unknown, and for this reason, I believe in providing my clients with the information they require to be put at east and worry-free as possible, so they may lead a normal life prior to their court date.
- how different prosecutors respond to various negotiation strategies
- knowledge of how different judges tend to sentence defendants convicted of specific offenses
- knowledge of how different officers act in varying circumstances, including at trial
Purpose Behind Tasks Requested by Your Fairfax Reckless Driving Lawyer
The main reason why a local Fairfax reckless driving lawyer (or Prince William reckless driving lawyer)* may ask for these two important tasks to be completed by a client in certain cases is because by doing so, the ability to negotiate a deal with the Commonwealth’s attorney and the police officer involved with your case is greatly enhanced.
*note: we mention Prince William County reckless driving along with Fairfax County reckless driving on this page because they are two counties where people tend to face reckless driving charges in Northern Virginia on a more frequent basis and in larger numbers than smaller jurisdictions. To see whether we can help you if your charge is not in Fairfax County or Prince William County, visit our service areas page.
In some jurisdictions (including Fairfax), you can only negotiate with a prosecutor and officer before your case is called if you have a lawyer. The purpose of negotiation before your name is called by the judge is to reach a deal — and if acceptable to you — may enable you to plead guilty to a non-criminal, minor traffic infraction instead of a criminal reckless driving prosecution. In other words, by taking a deal as described above, you could potentially avoid:
- a criminal conviction;
- thousands in fines;
- jail time;
- a permanent criminal record;
- DMV demerit points;
- insurance rate hikes; and
- suspension of license, depending on your circumstances, and more.
Reckless driving is a criminal offense in Virginia, and this alone causes shock and (sometimes) panic in Maryland residents charged in Fairfax County. Fairfax County is a major Northern Virginia county and jurisdiction, so it is no wonder that many out-of-state drivers, including people from the District of Columbia, find themselves on the receiving end of a Virginia Summons for a violation of a Virginia reckless driving law.
Cooperation w/ Fairfax Reckless Driving Lawyer Key
Cooperation with your attorney is essential, especially in a Fairfax County reckless driving case. There are several key actions you can take if you face any crime in Virginia, and as a Northern Virginia serving criminal defense attorney and Virginia traffic lawyer, I explain to my clients all of their options, including what may be done to prepare for the hearing. All competent Fairfax reckless driving lawyers do the same.
Below, you will find out what I believe to be the two most important things to do before a Fairfax County reckless driving case hearing *in some cases*
These two actions do not always apply. This is not legal advice, nor is anything on this page or website. It is for informational purposes only. Depending on your facts, and depending upon the type of Virginia reckless driving law alleged to have been violated, you may or may not stand to gain anything from what you are about to read. You should always consult one or more local Fairfax county reckless driving lawyers to learn:
- strong and weak points
- possible defenses, and
- cost of representation.
Many local Fairfax reckless driving attorneys and Prince William County reckless driving lawyers offer no-cost, no-obligation consultations.
At Vincenzes Law, PLLC, we offer those charged with a violation of a Virginia reckless driving law a free consultation by email, phone, or in-person. Use the on-screen contact button to provide a few details and preferred consultation method. Or visit the contact page to submit your information. A licensed Virginia criminal attorney will review your facts and get in touch as soon as possible. This does not form an attorney-client relationship, so please keep this in mind. There is no attorney-client relationship until an agreement has been formally entered into. Typically, our Fairfax reckless driving lawyer returns emails or calls to potential clients within 1 business day.
2 Tasks if Charged with a Violation of a Virginia Reckless Driving Law
Many violations are due to speeding. The Virginia reckless driving law that tells us speeding is considered reckless driving in Virginia actually lists two ways it can be violated:
- by driving 20 mph above the posted limit; or,
- by driving in excess of 80 mph.
(note: there are many other non-speed related Virginia reckless driving laws).
Hypothetical to Illustrate the Two Tasks
Jake was driving on I-495 to get to his girlfriend’s house. She lives in Fairfax County, but Jake lives in Maryland and is not completely familiar with the speed limits. He is pulled over and charged with speeding 82 mph in a 55 mph zone. Unaware of the Virginia reckless driving law making this speed a criminal misdemeanor, he is shocked when his girlfriend tells him that in Virginia, he faces a $2,500 fine, 12 month jail sentence, and 6 DMV demerit points (if he has a Virginia license). Jake consults a lawyer, and is told to do the following:
- First, take a DMV approved driving course and provide your local Fairfax reckless driving lawyer with a copy of the certificate to show the prosecutor; and,
- Second, as soon as you can, go to your state’s vehicle agency and request a copy of your driving record. In Maryland, this agency is the MVA. In Virginia, it is the DMV. In Virginia, it is not necessary, as the police have this information. But for out of state drivers, this is important because it shows the prosecution that you have gone out of your way to make an effort at resolving your case efficiently, and they respect that. (police officers typically do not bring a driver’s out-of-state record with them to court).
In sum, you can be charged with reckless driving for violating one of over a dozen laws. In some cases, it can be a huge benefit to take an approved driving course before court. For out-of-state drivers, obtaining an official copy of one’s driving record is sometimes recommended. Speak with your local Virginia traffic lawyer and local Fairfax Reckless Driving Lawyer for a specific recommendation.
For more reading and information about Virginia reckless driving laws:
see the Virginia DMV Moving Violations and Demerit Points Page to find out how many points you could be assessed by the DMV if convicted of a particular infraction
read the Virginia Reckless Driving Laws information page and learn about your reckless driving offense, plus the penalties applicable in such cases
read about other related violations, such as Virginia DWI and information about our local Fairfax DUI lawyer
For a consultation with a Fairfax reckless driving lawyer and Northern Virginia traffic and criminal defense attorney:
Call 703.665.3719 or submit a request online, here
Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject, “Consultation Request”
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