Virginia has some of the toughest traffic laws in the country. Some acts that would appear minor in other states can land you in serious trouble when you commit them in Virginia. A good example is reckless driving. Reckless driving is a Class 1 misdemeanor offense, which comes with the possibility of significant fines, suspended license, and even a possibility of spending time in jail. Apart from that, a conviction carries a criminal record, whose expungement is almost impossible. If you are arrested for reckless driving and ultimately convicted, you will end up with a permanent criminal record, which could affect your future opportunities in education, employment, housing and security clearances. Even a minor traffic violation such as failing to signal properly can lead to a criminal conviction. You should never take these charges lightly. Consult a skilled Goochland County VA reckless driving lawyer to defend you in court.
A reckless driving attorney represents those who are facing these serious charges. In a state with some of the most aggressive traffic laws, you can easily find yourself behind bars for a minor traffic offense. If you have been charged with reckless driving in Goochland County, Virginia, you need to seek the services of a reckless driving attorney, who will protect your privileges, rights, freedom, and future. As you know, the stakes are considerably higher when you are facing criminal charges as opposed to minor traffic violations.
At Joyner Law PLLC, our attorneys understand the seriousness of these charges, as well as what you might be going through during this period. We will harness our skills and resources while working tirelessly on your behalf throughout this process. We understand the importance of a positive conclusion in this case, and we will, therefore, focus solely on that throughout the trial. When it comes to reckless driving charges in Virginia, we are the right team to represent you during this trial and ensure you get a fair hearing. Contact us today and schedule a free consultation with our seasoned team of criminal defense attorneys.
Reckless Driving in Goochland County
A traffic violation like speeding can earn you a traffic ticket. Everybody knows that. Even if you are the most law abiding citizen, there is a possibility of receiving a traffic ticket at some point in your life due to a simple mistake or even distraction. However, did you know that speeding and other minor traffic violations can lead to a criminal offense? Well, in Virginia, speeding at more than 20 mph above the posted speed limit can lead to a Class 1 misdemeanor criminal offense. That violation is commonly known as reckless driving by speed. Apart from speed, you can be charged with reckless driving in Goochland County, Virginia for: failing to signal properly, driving too fast for conditions, failing to give way to an emergency vehicle, passing a stopped school bus, drag racing, faulty vehicle, and weaving in and out of traffic. Other offenses that can lead to reckless driving include causing an accident, failing to stop at a railroad crossing, driving with obstructed view, two vehicles in one lane, passing two vehicles abreast, and passing when the view is obstructed, among others. Most of these violations usually occur in the event of an accident. It is not easy for a police officer to establish that you are driving with improperly adjusted or faulty brakes unless that fault leads to an accident. You should also note that you can be charged with reckless driving by speed, even if you had not exceeded the speed limit on two occasions. First, if your driving is too slow in a manner that impedes normal traffic flow, then you can be charged with reckless driving by speed. Secondly, you can be charged with reckless driving by speed, for driving too fast in certain weather conditions.
Penalties for Reckless Driving
Reckless driving may seem like a minor traffic offense. In reality, reckless driving is a criminal offense in Goochland County, VA. As a Class 1 misdemeanor offense, it carries the same penalties as theft, assault, DUI and possession of marijuana. It, therefore, needs to be treated with the same level of seriousness. If you have been charged with reckless driving in Virginia, it is important to understand the penalties that you might be facing. Here are some of the most common penalties associated with reckless driving.
Jail term is a possible penalty for those convicted of reckless driving in Virginia. However, most judges usually apply the prison sentence for offenders who were driving at 95 mph or exceeding the posted speed limit by 30 mph. It also varies with the judge, local court procedures, and various other factors. Most areas in Virginia use the 90 mph threshold. However, it is important to understand that every case is unique. You are not going to jail automatically, just because the judge handed out a similar sentence in a previous case. If the unfortunate event that you are jailed, you will lose all your freedom. You will not be in a position to attend to your career. If you were employed, the chances are high that you will be laid off, especially if the prison sentence is long. Furthermore, you will not be able to spend time with your family. A prison sentence will also damage your reputation. It will not be business as usual, even when you finish your sentence. Due to these serious circumstances, it is advisable to hire experienced Goochland County VA reckless driving lawyers, once you have been charged with reckless driving.
Fines are the most common form of punishments handed out to reckless driving offenders. The specific fine depends on various factors, including the local court policies. The maximum fine you can receive when convicted is $2,500. However, depending on various factors, if it was a misdemeanor offense, then the average fine is usually in the range of $300 to $1000. Some judges have a set standard for imposing the fine. For example, in various jurisdictions, speeding at 90 mph in a zone where the speed limit is 65 mph would lead to a fine of $250, in addition to court costs. The law gives you a maximum of 30 days to clear these fines. However, if you have financial limitations and you feel you may not manage to pay the fine within that stipulated time, then you can ask for a deadline extension. You need to note that every case is unique and every court follows its own policies. As much as two cases might appear similar, the fines may differ significantly.
Loss of driving privileges is another consequence of reckless driving. It is also one of the most feared punishments for reckless driving offenders. The good news is that license suspension is just like jail time. It is not a common punishment for average reckless driving cases. However, it is a possibility, especially when it comes to reckless driving by speed. In a situation where a judge orders license suspension, you can apply for restricted driving privileges. A restricted driving license allows you to drive for specific or unavoidable circumstances such as going to work, dropping children to school, attending school, or visiting the doctor. You should note that a restricted license doesn’t give you the freedom to drive whenever or wherever you want. It is just a means of minimizing the inconveniences that might occur due to loss of driving privileges. If you are caught driving outside the stipulated guidelines, your license can be suspended or revoked completely. You can even face additional charges. Talk to your reckless driving attorney to have a better understanding of a restricted driving license.
Increased Insurance Premiums
Apart from fines, license suspension, and jail term, increase in insurance premiums is also a major consequence of a reckless driving conviction. You might be wondering what reckless driving has to do with your insurance premiums. Well, the specific amount you pay for motor vehicle insurance depends on your insurance provider. Having said that, a survey that was conducted recently indicated that a reckless driving conviction could increase your insurance premiums by almost 22%. On the other hand, a regular speeding ticket will only increase your premiums by an average of 10%. Using those figures, if you are currently paying $1000 annually, a reckless driving conviction will lead to additional costs of approximately $220 in insurance premiums. If your insurance provider applies the conviction for several years, then the costs will be significant. As much as hiring a reckless driving attorney will cost money upfront, avoiding a reckless driving conviction will lead to huge savings in the end. It is, therefore, a smart move to retain experienced Goochland County VA reckless driving lawyers, to give yourself a better chance of fighting these charges.
Permanent Criminal Record
As noted earlier, reckless driving is considered as a Class 1 misdemeanor criminal offense in Virginia. Therefore, a conviction comes with a permanent criminal record. Having a permanent criminal record comes with severe consequences. First, if you were seeking employment in a certain institution, they will have to conduct background checks on you, to know the person they intend to hire. If your criminal record shows up, there are high chances that you will not be hired for the position. Secondly, with the increased criminal acts in educational institutions, authorities are now undertaking strict background checks on all applicants. In short, if you have a criminal past, the chances are high that you will not be admitted. There is also the issue of seeking tenancy in rental apartments. Property owners are always hesitant when it comes to renting out houses to people with criminal records. Security clearances are another area that might be affected. As much as it was not intentional or malicious to commit the offense, you might have to live with these consequences forever. From jobs to education, you might lose various opportunities even when you are qualified. That’s why it’s important to hire an accomplished criminal defense attorney to represent you in court, once you have been charged with reckless driving.
Experienced Reckless Driving Attorneys
If you are facing reckless driving charges for the first time, then you might be going through a considerable amount of stress and anxiety. Also, if you have had prior reckless driving convictions, then you might end up with a suspension of driving privileges for a considerable amount of time. If you rely on your vehicle to go to work or attend to other daily chores, then you might be highly inconvenienced. This is where we come in. At Joyner Law PLLC, we are your legal experts. We will defend you in court, ensure you get a fair hearing, and present a solid defense strategy in an attempt to prevent a conviction.
We know that a simple distraction can lead to reckless driving charges. As much as it might appear simple, it might live to haunt you forever, if you happen to be convicted. When it comes to reckless driving charges, you need to work with experienced attorneys, who have been in that situation before. You need an attorney with skills and expertise when it comes to criminal defense. Those attorneys are none other than the ones you will find at Joyner Law PLLC. We are seasoned Goochland County VA reckless driving lawyers ready to defend you in court. We understand the seriousness of these charges. We also understand that it might not have been your intention to endanger other road users with your driving. We are accomplished criminal defense lawyers, with countless hours in the local courts and juries, representing clients charged with reckless driving. We are committed to protecting your reputation, rights and present a formidable defense strategy in your reckless driving case.
Contact Us Today
If you have been charged with reckless driving, our Goochland County VA reckless driving lawyers can help you. We will help you to prepare for the case, formulate a defense strategy, and recommend things you need to mitigate the consequences. By hiring Joyner Law PLLC as your reckless driving attorney, you are increasing the chances of having the charges reduced or even dismissed. We strive to represent all our clients to the highest levels of our abilities. Contact our experienced reckless driving attorneys today.