Being pulled over by police is always a tense affair. Most people expect the issue to be sorted as soon as possible so that they can proceed with their journey. However, with Virginia having some of the toughest traffic laws in the country, what appears like a routine traffic stop could lead to criminal charges. Reckless driving is one of the most common traffic violations in Virginia. Some actions that would appear simple like failing to signal can easily land you in jail. If you have been pulled over by police and your ticket reads reckless driving, then you will need a lawyer to defend you against these charges. Unlike other jurisdictions, reckless driving in Virginia is not a civil infraction. It is considered as a Class 1 misdemeanor offense. Offenses in this category are punishable by heavy fines and spending up to one year in jail. In addition, if your reckless driving actions resulted in the death of another, or if you are arrested while driving with a suspended license, then you will face felony charges instead. A reckless driving conviction comes with damaging and lasting consequences. Apart from the legal penalties of jail time, probation, and fines, you will also accrue six demerit points against your license. The conviction will also remain on your driving record for at least 11 years. If convicted, you will also end up with a permanent criminal record, which can hamper educational opportunities and job options. To protect yourself against these consequences, you need to hire experienced Sussex County VA reckless driving lawyers. Contact the accomplished reckless driving attorneys at Joyner Law PLLC, and schedule a free consultation.
Reckless Driving in Sussex County
As a Class 1 misdemeanor offense, reckless driving is in the same class as DWI and DUI. It is therefore treated harshly by the courts in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The prosecutors are always pursuing a conviction. Therefore, if you don’t have an experienced reckless driving attorney who can defend you aggressively in court, then you might easily find yourself behind bars. Unfortunately, most people don’t realize the seriousness of these charges. They assume they will only end up with a simple traffic ticket, which they can pre-pay and continue with their lives. Some traffic violations that would appear minor are considered criminal offenses. In Virginia, there are approximately 14 traffic violations, which are considered as reckless driving. They include:
Reckless Driving By Speed
You can face reckless driving charges in various ways. However, speed remains one of the most common. Reckless driving by speed is defined as driving at 20 mph above the posted speed limit or driving at 80 mph regardless of the posted speed limit. Most people who have never faced reckless driving charges tend to confuse a speeding ticket and reckless driving. A speeding ticket is a minor traffic infraction, which is payable via fine without appearing in court. You will receive a speeding ticket if you are driving at 19 mph and below above the posted speed limit. Once you hit 20 mph over the posted speed limit, then you qualify for reckless driving charges. Reckless driving is a criminal offense, which means you will have to appear in court or hire experienced Sussex County VA reckless driving lawyers to appear on your behalf. You can tell the difference between the two by looking at your charge sheet. The sheet the officer gives you should state whether you are being charged with reckless driving or general speeding. It will also state whether you will appear in court and the specific date. If the document makes it mandatory to appear in court, then there are high chances that you are facing reckless driving charges by speed.
Reckless Driving By Accident
Just like excessive speed, reckless driving by accident is also common. Any form of aggressive or reckless driving behavior considered as a danger to life, limb or property can be charged under this category. However, it is mostly charged in the event of an accident. The officer at the crime scene will collect evidence and witness statements. Once they allege you were the cause of the accident, then you will be charged with reckless driving. If you have been charged with reckless driving by accident, then it’s advisable to hire Sussex County VA reckless driving lawyers to defend you. The prosecutor has to prove beyond reasonable doubt that your aggressive driving behaviors, contributed to the accident. However, the mere happening of an accident doesn’t always imply you were driving recklessly, and this is where our competent lawyers come in. Our reckless driving attorneys will cross-examine the witnesses and the police officer at the crime scene. The outcome of this case usually depends on the cross-examination and the officer’s testimony. If you don’t have legal experience, then you may not know the type of questions to ask, thus making it extremely hard to defend yourself. At Joyner Law PLLC, we understand that it may not have been your wish or fault to cause an accident. Once you retain us, we will build a strong defense strategy, in a bid to get the most favorable result.
Failing to Maintain Control
You can also be charged with reckless driving in Virginia, for driving a vehicle that is not in proper control or one that has faulty brakes. For example, you might swerve to avoid hitting something on the road. You might then lose control of your vehicle, thus leading to an accident. In such a situation, you will be charged with reckless driving. Also, your brake lights may fail, or your signal lights may malfunction, leading to an accident. In that situation, the chances are high that you will be charged with reckless driving. To prove these charges, traffic officers must present evidence and facts showing that your brakes were faulty or your vehicle was not in control. These facts are not easy to prove unless you admit to the offense. You can easily defend these charges with a competent lawyer, who has previously handled reckless driving cases. When you find yourself in this situation, it is always a smart move to talk to a Sussex County reckless driving lawyer as soon as possible. Our reckless driving attorneys will explain the charges you are facing as well as the possible consequences if convicted. Call our office today and schedule a free consultation.
General Reckless Driving
In Sussex County VA, general reckless driving is a common offense. In fact, it ranks second after reckless driving by speed. Therefore, it is important to retain a skilled reckless driving lawyer when facing these charges, since the consequences are dire. Our Sussex County VA reckless driving lawyers can help you to evaluate the charges and then come up with the most effective defense. Our attorneys will ensure you have the best chance of beating the charges and avoiding a conviction or even having them reduced. If it’s not possible for the charges to be reduced, our reckless driving lawyers can still negotiate with the prosecution to mitigate the final punishment. An officer is allowed by law to charge you with general reckless driving if your actions appear to endanger life, limb or property. However, the officer must prove beyond reasonable doubt that you were, in fact, driving recklessly. A general reckless driving charge is more complex as compared to the others since it opens up too much room for opinion and interpretation. The process itself can also prove complex, and that’s why you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you fight these charges. Talk to our attorneys today so that we can explore strategies for defending you against these serious charges.
Penalties for Reckless Driving
Unlike other traffic infractions, reckless driving is a considered as a criminal offense. It, therefore, carries the same penalties as those charged with assault or even DUI. The penalties for reckless driving include a fine of up to $2,500, a jail term of at least one year and a suspension or loss of driving privileges. If you are a commercial driver, then you will not be able to drive with the CDL, once the DMV has suspended your regular license. A license suspension goes up to around six months. Therefore, if you receive the maximum suspension, then you may not be able to work, which means loss of employment.
Also, if you use your vehicle every day for errands such as dropping children to school, shopping or going to work, then you will be highly inconvenience since you will have to rely on public transport or other means. The length of the jail term depends on the history of previous offenses, as well as the judge handling your case. If you are a first time offender, then the possibility of landing in jail is quite low. However, if your reckless driving behavior resulted in the death of another person, your charges are upgraded from misdemeanor to felony, thus increasing chances of being sentenced to jail. Also, a conviction for a criminal offense such as reckless driving comes with a permanent criminal record. Such a record may affect your current and future employment and educational opportunities.
Experienced Reckless Driving Lawyers
If you are facing reckless driving charges, call our criminal defense attorneys today to help you in fighting these charges. As noted earlier, Virginia has some of the toughest traffic laws in the country. Illegal passing, aggressive driving, and speeding are all considered as moving violations. They usually come with criminal charges, which mean you might end up in jail if convicted. Unlike a speeding ticket, a misdemeanor offense such as reckless driving doesn’t go away easily, just because you have paid the fine. It comes with a permanent criminal record, which will always follow you wherever you go. To give yourself a better fighting chance, consult our reckless driving attorneys today, and we will be more than willing to help you fight these charges.
At Joyner Law PLLC, we believe everyone is innocent until proven guilty. Furthermore, whether it was reckless driving by speed, reckless driving by accident or general recklessness, we believe you should not be treated like a criminal. Some unfortunate events such as brake failure may happen, even when you follow a regular maintenance procedure. Such events might lead to an accident, and you might be charged with reckless driving. In some other situations, you might be rushing home, only to be pulled over for speeding. It is not always your wish to find yourself in such unfortunate circumstances, and that’s why we want to help you fight these charges, protect your rights and maintain your reputation. We are committed to putting up the strongest defense possible, to ensure we obtain a positive outcome in court, based on prevailing circumstances.
Our reckless driving attorneys have experience handling and trying cases in Sussex County, Virginia. They can, therefore, use the experience they have gained through the process, as well as the knowledge of the judges to help in fighting these charges. At Joyner Law PLLC, we don’t promise any outcome or any results. Every case is unique since the circumstances surrounding any arrest are always different. However, we will draw upon our decades of experience to overcome any roadblocks that might be along the way to pursue a favorable outcome. If you are facing these charges for the first time, then you might be feeling worried and confused, not knowing the next course of action to pursue. Don’t let these charges give you endless anxiety and panic. We are here to help you in fighting these charges and restore normalcy in your life.
Contact Us Today
A reckless driving conviction comes with serious and lasting consequences. Apart from the legal penalties, you will end up with a permanent criminal record, which will always affect your education and employment opportunities. It will also come up during security clearances. As you can see, you cannot afford to ignore these charges or even contemplate representing yourself in court. You need experienced criminal defense attorneys, such as Joyner Law PLLC, who have handled similar cases before. We will present the strongest defense possible in a bid to secure the most favorable outcome. Contact us today and schedule a free consultation.