What are the benefits of a Virginia reckless driving lawyer?

Virginia Reckless Driving Penalty Assessment Chart

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Disclaimer and Warning: please be aware, the information contained on this page and the accompanying table/quiz is by no means intended to be used or relied upon as legal advice. I highly encourage you to contact a Virginia reckless driving lawyer for a free consultation, regardless of what your score is.  Every case is unique. There is no substitute for a professional opinion. Do not rely on anything you read online.

As a Virginia criminal defense attorney and law firm with headquarters in Fairfax County, we get calls and messages on a fairly regular basis from people who are facing a Virginia reckless driving charge. Some of these individuals are long-time residents, while others are out-of-state drivers. I explain to these people that as a Fairfax criminal lawyer and Northern Virginia traffic and criminal defense attorney, there is no need to feel ashamed or embarrassed to share the details.

In Virginia, reckless driving is a criminal offense; it is a Class 1 misdemeanor. Despite the fact that most people I talk to are aware of the comparatively strict reckless driving laws in Virginia, many are not sure whether or not a lawyer is necessary. In this post, I offer a very rudimentary way to obtain a general sense as to whether or not jail time may be a probable outcome upon a conviction. Below is a table containing point values and various factors, all of which may contribute to a final outcome. Add up your point total and see the interpretation chart.

Before taking the quiz, consider the maximum penalties by law. For some people, this is enough for them to promptly call a Virginia or Fairfax reckless driving lawyer right away (or Prince William reckless driving attorney, as the case may be. We handle reckless driving cases throughout Northern Virginia).  For all Class 1 misdemeanors and all reckless driving violations, the law states that the maximum penalty is 12 months confinement, and a fine of $2,500. Loss of driving privileges may also be a consequence. But is this typical? The answer is, it depends. It depends on the nature of the case. All cases are different. Some factors are easily discernible, while others are not even known by an attorney until the day of the court proceeding (e.g., the particular judge or prosecutor assigned to the case).

The Virginia Reckless Driving Quiz

Courtesy of the Vincenzes Law Firm and
Our Fairfax Reckless Driving Lawyer

Instructions:

Get out a piece of paper, grab a pen, and be prepared to make a list of the point values. You may wish to print this page. Just below the main quiz/table, you will find the interpretations of various scores.

Fairfax Reckless Driving Lawyers

Virginia reckless driving laws

Would a Criminal or
Virginia Traffic Attorney Help?

Yes. Regardless of your score, there are other issues you should be aware of. For instance, even if a conviction does not result in any jail time or a substantial fine, it will lead to demerit points. These demerit points, assessed by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), can cause increased insurance premiums.

A lawyer will be able to offer insider knowledge that will help your day in court be as stress-free as possible. For example, our Fairfax reckless driving lawyer and Northern Virginia reckless driving attorney offers those who are unfamiliar with the court where they must appear helpful information, including (but not limited to):

  • driving directions
  • parking information
  • ideal time to leave, given the defendant’s route and location
  • court cell phone policy
  • appropriate attire
  • instructions as to how and where to pay fines
  • and much more.

This is all helpful information, but the true value is the legal service. Consider what an unrepresented party will go through:

A person without a lawyer will arrive to court, take a seat, and the judge will start calling names. Some days, the docket is so long that people are in court for several hours. Once the person’s name is called, he or she will walk to the front of the court and the judge will ask how he or she wishes to plead. If the person wishes to plead guilty, then the judge may ask if they would like to say anything before a sentence is handed down. If the person pleads not guilty, then it will be the officer’s word against theirs. Keep in mind, even a logical excuse will fail if not legally sufficient (e.g., late for an important meeting, etc.). If found guilty, fines are almost always imposed. The person will then need to pay the fine within a certain time frame to avoid a license suspension. Furthermore, depending on jurisdiction, the fine may have to be paid with other court costs and fees. Determining where and how to pay is something the person will need to find out by calling the traffic or criminal division, find online, or learn elsewhere.

Now compare the experience of a represented individual:

If a person hires an attorney, the experience in court is different. First, the person will typically meet their lawyer outside of the courtroom. He or she will explain to the defendant that they will not need to worry about the judge calling their name until they are ready. This is because the attorney will first approach the Commonwealth’s Attorney (prosecutor) and the clerk before the scheduled hearing time. This is to instruct the court to skip over the represented party’s name, so the attorney has a chance to talk to the police officer and the prosecutor in order to negotiate a favorable agreement. Sometimes, it is possible to explain the deficiencies of a case and the case will not even proceed. Once the Commonwealth’s Attorney makes an offer, the attorney will discuss this offer with the defendant. The defendant will learn the positives and negatives associated with accepting the offer. If the defendant decides not to take the deal, then the case will either be continued to another date, or it will be tried. If tried, the attorney will do a number of things. Usually, the defendant does not testify (but may do so if he or she wishes in any case).

He or she may:

  • inspect the officer’s calibration certificate for legal deficiencies
  • examine or cross-examine the officer and any other witnesses
  • make an opening statement on the client’s behalf
  • make a closing statement on the client’s behalf
  • make a “motion to strike” (essentially stating the prosecution has not made a case)
  • or a number of other motions.
  • seek a dismissal with prejudice so the case cannot be brought back against the defendant.

There are numerous possible defenses to reckless driving in Virginia, and in order to fully understand whether or not a defense exists, a legal professional who has experience handling traffic and criminal matters should be consulted.

The number one reason why people do not want to hire a lawyer in any given matter is the perceived costs. These days, many criminal defense attorneys in Northern Virginia do not charge by the hour, but instead, offer a flat fee. A flat fee is a good way for any person who is trying to assess the potential legal fees associated with representation to understand what it will cost, and budget accordingly.

At Vincenzes Law, PLLC, we not only offer free consultations by phone or in-person, but provide a flat fee quotation at the end of each discussion (if requested). There is nothing to lose by calling, and we will be happy to explain a case’s weaknesses, strengths, and possible defenses upon a first review of the facts.

To reach us by phone, you may call our local number at 703.665.3719, or our Toll Free line at 888.695.6565. You may also reach us online.

 

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Brenton D. Vincenzes is a lifelong Fairfax County resident and Fairfax Criminal Defense Lawyer. He is a member of the Virginia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, National College of DUI Defense, NORML, and has been awarded the following in 2014-15: Top 100 Trial Lawyer (National Trial Lawyers) Top 40 Under 40 Trial Lawyer (National Trial Lawyers) Nationally Ranked Top 10 Under 40 Defense Attorney (National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys) 10 Best in Client Satisfaction for Criminal Defense (American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys) Nationally Ranked Top 1% Attorney Award Recipient (National Association of Distinguished Counsel) As a local leader, Mr. Vincenzes mentors troubled youths, volunteers his time to serve at his church, takes select pro bono clients, and strives to improve the community. Mr. Vincenzes represents men, women, and juveniles through zealous and diligent advocacy, strategic planning, and skilled trial work preparation. Mr. Vincenzes' areas of criminal law practice are broad, and include most felonies and misdemeanors such as: reckless driving, DUI & DWI, drug offenses, assault and battery, domestic violence, assault on an officer, destruction of property, alcohol offenses, firearm offenses, larceny, shoplifting, embezzlement, fraud, and other theft offenses, and moving traffic violations among others. His private legal services are available in most Northern Virginia jurisdictions, including Fairfax County, Arlington County, Prince William County, Loudoun County, Stafford County, Alexandria, Manassas, Leesburg, South Riding, and other cities and towns.

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