Category Archives: Traffic Defense Attorney

Evade and Elude Law: Misdemeanor or Felony?

In Virginia, law enforcement officers may charge someone with Evading and Eluding police anytime you fail to stop driving when properly commanded to stop. But within the Virginia Evade and Elude law, there are actually three different crimes. Each of the three crimes has completely different potential penalties, and each applies to a different factual scenario.  Let’s take a look at each of the three crimes that are contained within the Evade and Elude law (which is Virginia Code § 46.2-817).

Misdemeanor Evade and Elude

It is a misdemeanor to willfully and wantonly attempt to escape or elude a law-enforcement officer.  This law also specifically prohibits an individual from disregarding a law-enforcement officer’s visible or audible signal to bring a motor vehicle to a stop.  A violation of the part of the Evade and Elude law is a Class 2 misdemeanor. That means it has a possibility of up to six (6) months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.  If convicted, your driver’s license may also be suspended for up to 30 days.

Class 6 Felony Evade and Elude

The second crime found within this law heightens the punishment when a person fails to bring his or her vehicle to a stop after receiving a visible or audible signal from law-enforcement and continues to drive the vehicle recklessly, causing danger to any person. If convicted under this part of the law, it is a Class 6 felony. That means there is a maximum punishment of up to five (5) years in jail.

Class 4 Felony Evade and Elude

Finally, the third crime within this law makes it a Class 4 felony when a person fails to bring his or her vehicle to a stop after receiving a visible or audible signal from law-enforcement, continues to drive the vehicle recklessly, causing danger to any person, and an officer is killed in the pursuit. This has a maximum punishment of ten (10) years in jail and a maximum fine of $100,000.

As you can see, each part of the Evade and Elude law has specific elements that must be proven by the Commonwealth before someone can be found guilty. The way to make sure the Commonwealth proves their case is to hire a lawyer with experience representing clients on this charge and related charges. If you need a lawyer to represent you on any level of Evading and Eluding, give me a call for a free consultation.

 

Getting a Ticket After a Car Accident

wreck-ticketIt’s bad enough that you’re car was just wrecked, but why did the police officer also have to write you a ticket?  In Virginia, it’s very common for one or all of the people involved in a vehicle accident to get a traffic ticket. The most common tickets cops give after wrecks are for reckless driving, following too closely, or failing to yield. But here is what you must remember:  the police officer cannot make a determination about who is “at fault” in the wreck, and if he didn’t witness it, it will be pretty difficult for him to establish any violation of the law at all.

Why Fight the Ticket After A Car Accident?

So one reason to fight the traffic ticket after your car accident is because a knowledgeable traffic attorney can often win the case, getting the ticket completely dismissed and keeping it off your record. This is especially true if the police officer did not actually see the accident occur.  The second reason to fight your ticket is related to your personal liability in the wreck.  In some cases, if you’re found guilty of the traffic ticket related to a wreck, then you will also be automatically liable for the other party’s damages and injuries from that accident.

Always remember that pre-paying a ticket is exactly the same as being found guilty of it. When you pay that fine to the court, you are admitting that you did exactly what you’ve been accused of. So pre-paying or going to court and losing could both end up costing you or your insurance company many thousands of dollars. The solution? Let us fight your traffic ticket, and also consult one of the best Virginia Beach Personal Injury Lawyers to see whether you might have a valid claim for your own injuries caused by the accident.

Southampton Virginia Reckless Driving Attorney

Speeding and Reckless Driving Tickets in Southampton County

southampton-speeding-recklessThere are two kinds of people in this world.  First, there are those who’ve never heard of Southampton County, Virginia. Second, there are those who’ve gotten a speeding ticket there. Almost everyone who travels US Highway 58 on their way to Western Virginia or North Carolina with any regularity has gotten a speeding or reckless driving ticket driving there. It’s true:  Southampton County is a speed trap in the sense that it seems to come out of nowhere, has a quickly reducing speed limit, and some very efficient cops.  Within Southampton County is the City of Courtland. Courtland is well known for its efficient speed enforcement as well, and if you are ticked anywhere in Southampton County, you will be summoned to appear in the General District Court which is located in Courtland, VA.

If you’ve been through the area, you know there are several speed limit signs posted very close together and the limit drops rapidly between them. And just on the other side of the lowest one, an officer will be waiting — usually with a high-accuracy LiDar Speed Measurement Laser Device. In Southampton, the officer will ticket you for speeding if you were going faster than the speed limit, but not more than 20 MPH faster. If you were going 20 MPH or more over the speed limit, the officer might elect to ticket you for Reckless Driving rather than speeding.  You can read more about reckless driving here, but realize that Reckless Driving is a criminal offense, not merely a traffic infraction like speeding.

Do I have to come back to the Southampton Court for my ticket?

If you were cited for Reckless, you may be wondering if you can avoid coming back to court.  Usually the answer is no.  Reckless is a criminal offense with the potential of jail time, therefore you must appear in person at the General District Court in Courtland, VA for trial. However, a Virginia Reckless Driving Attorney can often get that requirement waived, and appear in court on your behalf so that you do not have to travel back here.  Contact us for a free consultation, and we’ll let you know whether your reckless driving ticket is one that we can handle in Southampton County without you there.  If you got a speeding rather than reckless ticket, we can appear on your behalf without you coming back. You should discuss this decision with us to determine what is the best course of action for your case.

Should I prepay my Southampton ticket?

Reckless Driving and Speeding both have defenses and ways to keep your record clean or at least minimize the impact a conviction would have on your record. Generally you cannot pre-pay a reckless ticket. You can pre-pay a speeding ticket, but be aware that pre-paying the ticket is a guilty plea and the ticket will go on your record in that case.

If you’re one of the many who’ve been ticketed in Southampton County or Courtland Virginia, give us a call. We are experienced with that court, and can help with your case.

 

 

Do I Need a Lawyer for a Virginia Reckless Driving Ticket?

I was driving on I-64 through Hampton, Virginia and a Virginia State Trooper stopped me for going 82 in a 55 Mph zone. I thought it was a speeding ticket until I got to my house in Chesapeake and realized that he wrote it as a Reckless Driving Ticket.  Can he do that?  Do I need a lawyer for a reckless driving ticket?  Is there anything a lawyer can do that I can’t do on my own?

reckless-driving-virginiaThis is the single most common question I get asked. Virginia law is unique in a few ways that you should understand if you have received a summons (or “ticket”) for reckless driving. First, a reckless driving ticket is not a traffic offense like speeding. It is a crime.  If you are convicted, or if you simply “pay the ticket”, it will be on your criminal record and therefore available to future employers who search your criminal history.  It has a potential sentence of up to 1 year in jail.  There is a potential fine of up to $2,500. For most people, the biggest concerns are having a criminal record and the increased car insurance rates that go along with it, though if you were traveling 90 mph or faster, or if you have anything at all on your driving record, you may also need to be concerned about jail time, and having your driver’s license suspended.

You cannot just go “prepay” your reckless driving ticket.  You will have to go to court and be sentenced for this crime.  It is not a traffic offense like speeding.  Even if you could “prepay” it, that would be the same as being convicted. It would be on your record.

In Virginia, you can get a reckless driving ticket for speeding.  If you are traveling 20 miles per hour over the posted speed limit, or if you are traveling over 80 miles per hour anywhere in Virginia, you are guilty of reckless driving under Virginia Code Section 46.2-862.

There are many ways I help clients who hire me for their reckless driving by speed tickets in Virginia.  In many cases, we will have a trial and challenge the radar or laser calibrations used by the officer. Virginia police officers are required to produce calibration certificates that comply with certain statutes. I ensure that they have followed those procedures; when they have not followed the proper procedures, we get those cases dismissed completely. There are also cases where we are able to introduce reasonable doubt into the government’s case against my client by using witnesses who were riding with my client to testify both to my client’s speed and to other vehicles they witnessed around my client’s car.  I can subpoena and call these witnesses to testify on your behalf, and can cross-examine the officer about his observations.  I will also make a closing argument to the judge to sum up your case.  Using these trial techniques, we can obtain a complete dismissal of reckless driving charges in the Virginia Courts in cases where we are able to establish reasonable doubt as to the reckless driving ticket.  Of course, every case is unique and the outcome of any case depends on the specific facts and circumstances of that individual case.

Finally, even where we cannot establish reasonable doubt or the client wishes to plead guilty, we will introduce “mitigation evidence” to the judge.  This can result in a reduction of the reckless driving ticket to a minor traffic offense rather than a crime, which will likely result in no or very little increase in insurance costs and no criminal record for the client.

As a Virginia Beach Reckless Driving Attorney, I represent people charged with reckless driving throughout Hampton Roads. — Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Hampton, Portsmouth, Newport News, Suffolk, Isle of Wight, and all points in between.

 

You Should Get A Lawyer For a Virginia Speeding Ticket

Reckless Driving Attorney.

Get a Traffic Ticket Lawyer to Fight Your Speeding Ticket

Contact us for a free consultation, and can give you an idea of what could really happen with your traffic case and provide a price quote by phone. Hiring a traffic attorney to deal with your speeding ticket can save you time by eliminating the need for you to take time off work and go to the courthouse. It may also come as a surprise that an experienced traffic attorney can get your speeding ticket reduced. Some Virginia speeding tickets can be reduced to nothing more than attending a brief driving school, and paying small court costs — keeping the ticket off your driving record and preventing an increase in your insurance rates.  Also, you may have legal grounds on which to challenge your ticket to get it completely dismissed. One of the biggest advantages for drivers who do not live in Virginia but were ticketed here is that often we can go to court for you without the need for you to return to Virginia.

Get Your Virginia Speeding Ticket Reduced

If I represent someone for a speeding ticket, there are several ways I will try to get the charge reduced if we cannot get it dismissed completely. If my client has a clean driving record, I will show the judge a certified copy of their DMV abstract. If the judge sees that you have a lengthy driving history without tickets or convictions, she may be willing to reduce or dismiss your speeding ticket. Also, if you get your speedometer calibrated prior to your court date, Virginia judges will sometimes drop a speeding ticket to a “defective equipment” citation. These citations carry no DMV demerit points, and they allow you to have only a smaller fine. A local attorney who knows the court and the judge who will be hearing your case will know what strategies will and will not work in your particular court and with your particular fact situation.

Tickets Will Lead to Higher Insurance Rates

While many people decide to prepay a speeding ticket and save themselves the time and hassle, prepaying a traffic ticket is the same as pleading guilty, and it can result in DMV demerit points and higher insurance premiums. Higher insurance premiums can accumulate over the year and cost more than the cost of paying an Attorney , who could work to keep the charge off your record.

To see if you could benefit from the help of a local attorney and avoid the negatives that come from a speeding ticket conviction, consult a traffic attorney in your area before prepaying your ticket or going into court alone.  Contact me to discuss affordable representation on your traffic ticket throughout Hampton Roads Virginia:  I defend clients on Traffic Tickets in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Newport News, Hampton, Isle of Wight, and other General District Courts and Circuit Courts throughout the Tidewater region of Virginia.