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?
This 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.