Reckless driving is a crime in Virginia. It is normally charged as a Class 1 misdemeanor offense in Prince George County. A Class 1 criminal offense is the highest misdemeanor in Virginia. Reckless driving can also be charged as a Class 6 felony, depending on various circumstances. You should also note that a reckless driving conviction comes with a permanent criminal record. Convictions for normal traffic infractions usually drop off your driving record after some time. However, that is not the case with a criminal conviction. It will not go away. Criminal convictions in Virginia cannot be expunged from your records. This means they will follow you wherever you go, thus denying you various opportunities.
If you have been charged with reckless driving, you first need to contact Prince George County VA reckless driving lawyers as soon as possible. A reckless driving attorney will assess your case to determine whether a conviction can be avoided. If it is not possible to avoid a conviction, a reckless driving attorney will help to obtain a reduction of the charges or any other favorable outcome, depending on the circumstances.
Unlike speeding tickets, it is not possible to pre-pay fines for reckless driving. The law requires you to appear in court and answer the charges. If you have never appeared in court before, you might feel anxious and worried. The good news is that our experienced reckless driving attorneys are here to defend your rights and ensure you are comfortable as face these charges. We have decades of experience representing clients charged with reckless driving in Prince George County. Contact us today so that we can assess your case and determine the way forward.
What is Reckless Driving?
In Prince George County, Virginia, you can be charged with reckless driving for going against various statutes. Most drivers are charged with reckless driving in Virginia for driving in a manner that endangers life, limb or property. Some of the offenses that are considered as reckless driving include passing a stopped school bus, failing to signal properly, driving a vehicle with faulty brakes, failing to stop at a rail crossing, and drag racing. Other offenses that constitute reckless driving include excessive speeding, driving with an obstructed view, weaving in and out of traffic, causing accidents, passing two vehicles abreast, driving too fast for conditions, and failing to yield to an emergency vehicle.
Passing a Stopped School Bus
Did you know that you can be charged with reckless driving for passing a stopped school bus? Well, Prince George County police have noticed that a large number of motorists tend to pass a stopped school bus, even when it’s unloading children. To deal with this growing issue, the officers have decided to charge offenders with reckless driving. Initially, passing a stopped school bus used to be a normal traffic infraction, payable via fines. However, it is now a Class 1 misdemeanor offense, which can land you in jail or lead to suspension of your driving privileges. As much as it appears minor, you will need to hire a skilled reckless driving attorney to represent you in court and help in fighting these charges. Apart from that, the authorities are now outfitting school buses with cameras, in an attempt to capture those vehicles that are passing stopped school buses, when there are no police in the vicinity. If you have been charged with reckless driving for passing a stopped school bus, our Prince George County VA reckless driving lawyers can help you to fight these serious charges.
Reckless Driving by Accidents
Majority of reckless driving statutes in Virginia tend to fall in this category. For example, reckless driving by faulty brakes, driving too fast for conditions, failing to signal, or weaving in and out of traffic. It is almost impossible to single out a vehicle on the highway that has faulty brakes unless there is an accident. It is also hard to prove that a vehicle failed to signal properly unless the police officers were highly observant. However, once there is an accident, the officer who arrives at the scene can cite any of the aggressive driving behaviors as the reason for the accident. The officer will then interview witnesses, consider the damage to the vehicles and then assess the scene. If you are deemed responsible for the accident, then you will be charged with reckless driving.
Penalties for Reckless Driving
Penalties for reckless driving include jail time and hefty fines. The DMV can also add its penalties separately, by applying demerit points or even license suspension. Accumulation of a certain number of points can also lead to license revocation. Most of out-of-state drivers passing through Virginia assume they don’t require a lawyer when they get a reckless driving ticket. However, most of the states have electronically interlinked their traffic bureaus and law enforcement. Therefore, it is now easy to incur penalties for offenses that you committed in Virginia, even if you are a non-resident.
As much as you don’t have to appear in court in person, you must hire an attorney to appear on your behalf. Furthermore, the majority of the states in the country also refuse to renew driving licenses to people with pending tickets in other states. If you are convicted in absentia, a notice will be sent to your home state. If it was a case of license suspension, then your home state will also reciprocate that notice. In short, you cannot commit a traffic offense and Virginia and simply walk away.
Reckless driving is a Class 1 misdemeanor criminal offense in Virginia. However, the charges can be upgraded to a Class 6 felony under various circumstances such as driving with a revoked license or causing the death of another person in an accident. Some of the statutory penalties that come with reckless driving include jail time, license suspension, fines and demerit points.
If you are convicted of reckless driving in Prince George County, Virginia, you may face license suspension for up to six months. To have your license reinstated, you will have to meet all the conditions and requirements set by the judge. Some of these requirements include completing a driver improvement course as well as paying DMV reinstatement fees. You will also have to prove that your car is adequately insured. Apart from license suspension, you may also receive six demerit points on your driving record, which remains for around 11 years. Such a record may affect your insurance premiums and other clearances that require a driving record.
Whether you are facing a Class 1 misdemeanor offense or a Class 6 felony, you cannot escape fines in Virginia. Reckless driving is considered as one of the biggest contributors to motor vehicle accidents in Virginia. Therefore, the authorities have come up with heavy fines to deter would-be offenders. If you are convicted of reckless driving, you will face a maximum fine of $2,500. It is upon the discretion of the judge to decide the actual fine amount. If you were found guilty of reckless driving by accident, then the judge will use the mph exceeded to determine the actual amount. If you have a clean driving record, there are high chances that you will receive a smaller fine as compared to someone who has prior reckless driving convictions.
Did you know that you can be sentenced to prison for reckless driving? Well, as much as reckless driving is a traffic offense, it is in the same category as theft, assault, and DUI. All these charges are considered as Class 1 misdemeanor criminal offenses. If you are convicted of reckless driving, then you can be sent to jail for up to 12 months. Just like fines, the actual amount is determined by your driving history. If you have a record of reckless driving convictions, there is a possibility of spending time in jail. Some judges may also use the mph exceeded in the case of reckless driving by speed to determine the jail time. For example, if the allowed speed on the highway is 40 mph and you were caught speeding at 50 mph, then you may earn a day in jail for every mph exceeded. If you are convicted of a Class 6 felony due to reckless driving, then you can face a maximum jail term of up to 12 months.
Apart from the statutory penalties, a reckless driving conviction in Prince George County Virginia can affect you in various ways. First, there is the issue of increased insurance premiums. Every insurance provider uses unique criteria for determining the insurance rate. In short, two people can be paying different rates to the same insurance provider. Most insurance companies mostly use your age as well as your driving record to determine the rate. Someone who has been driving for ten years will be paying lesser fees as compared to someone with an experience of one year. The same case applies to driving record. If you have prior traffic violations, the insurance provider will consider you a high risk, and you will, therefore, have to pay higher insurance premiums. You need to consult your insurance provider as soon as you have been charged with reckless driving, to understand their policy. A conviction or a guilty plea for reckless driving also comes with a criminal record, depending on whether it was a misdemeanor or a felony. It is almost impossible to have this criminal record expunged. This means it will follow you wherever you go. Also, it will always turn up during background checks especially when you apply for an apartment rental, employment or education. Whether you are a Virginia resident or not, this criminal record will always show up. If you have a security clearance or you are applying for one, then you will have to disclose your criminal record. Some agencies may deny or revoke your security clearance while others may grant you, based on the circumstances. However, the chances are high that you will be denied one, due to your criminal record. If your reckless driving behavior resulted in death or destruction of property, there is a possibility of facing a civil lawsuit.
Experienced Reckless Driving Attorneys
If you want to minimize or avoid consequences of reckless driving, then you should consult Prince George County VA reckless driving lawyers. At Joyner Law PLLC, we are here to ensure you get a fair hearing in court while pursuing a favorable outcome in your case. We understand that you might be feeling worried and confused. We also know that you might be wondering the next step to pursue. However, we are here to ease your anxiety and make sure you are comfortable as we proceed with the hearing. The consequences of reckless driving charges mainly depend on the lawyer you hire to represent you. Many lawyers in this area just want to represent you to increase their case numbers. On the contrary, we are more interested in protecting you against these damaging consequences. At Joyner Law PLLC, performance comes first, and then money comes second. We also know that once we do a great job, we don’t even have to market our services, thanks to our happy customers. We are competent, skilled and experienced to handle all manner of reckless driving charges. From reckless driving by speed to driving a faulty vehicle, you can always rely on our accomplished team of Prince George County VA reckless driving lawyers during your case.
Contact Us Today
If you have been charged with reckless driving in Prince George County, Virginia, you need the best lawyer to handle your case. As noted earlier, the consequences of reckless driving are dire. A conviction can land you in jail or even change your life forever. However, we are here to ensure that doesn’t happen. We will work tirelessly to secure a positive outcome in your case. We are aggressive criminal defense lawyers, who have represented hundreds of clients facing reckless driving charges in Prince George County courts. You can always rely on our experience and expertise to handle these charges. Contact us today and schedule a free consultation. We will assess your case thoroughly and determine the most appropriate course of action.