To most people driving on the roadways of Virginia, reckless driving is just like any other traffic infraction. Once they have been pulled over by traffic officers, they expect that they will just pre-pay the fine, and avoid the inconvenience. However, in Chesterfield County and throughout Virginia, reckless driving is considered as a serious criminal offense. Several out-of-state drivers have found themselves in a difficult situation, once they realized that they would be facing criminal charges for a criminal offense. Without legal knowledge or experience, you may not understand the charges you are facing. Once you have been pulled over and given a ticket, the best way to determine the charges you are facing is by contacting a reckless driving lawyer. At Joyner PLLC law firm, we will go through the ticket, so that we can determine the most appropriate course of action to follow. We understand the seriousness of a reckless driving conviction. Therefore, we will handle your case with the seriousness it deserves, keeping in mind the high stakes of this case. An experienced Chesterfield County VA reckless driving lawyer will work tirelessly to pursue a reduction of the penalties or dismissal if possible. Contact our law firm today for a free consultation.
Reckless Driving in Chesterfield County
Various risky driving behaviors are considered as reckless driving in Virginia. Reckless driving by speed and reckless driving by accident remain the two most common ones. However, most people make the mistake of assuming that a speeding ticket and a reckless driving charge are the same. However, if you consult experienced Chesterfield County VA reckless driving lawyers, they will tell you that the two offenses are worlds apart. In the case of a speeding ticket, you can choose to pre-pay the fine, without appearing in court. Reckless driving, on the other hand, is a criminal offense. Therefore, you will have to appear in court to answer those charges. So, what constitutes reckless driving in Virginia? Here are some of the offenses.
Reckless Driving by Speed
Reckless driving by speed is one of the most common in Virginia. Virginia has some of the toughest traffic laws in the country. Therefore, if you are an out-of-state driver, then it’s easy to find yourself facing reckless driving charges, driving at a speed that you would consider normal in your home state. In Chesterfield County, VA, you can be arrested and charged with reckless driving by speed, for exceeding certain allowable limits. Reckless driving by speed is considered as driving at a speed of 20 mph, over the posted speed limit. For example, if the posted speed limit on a certain section is posted at 35 mph and you are caught speeding at 55 mph, then you will be charged with reckless driving. You can also be charged with reckless driving by speed, if you are caught speeding at 80 mph on any roadway or highway in Virginia, regardless of the posted speed limit. People tend to confuse a general speeding ticket and reckless driving by speed. However, they differ regarding application and penalties. Unlike a speeding ticket which is just a simple traffic infraction, reckless driving is considered as a Class 1 misdemeanor offense, which carries heavy penalties.
General Reckless Driving
General reckless driving is driving in a manner that endangers the life, limb or property of others. In Chesterfield County, Virginia, driving recklessly means driving in disregard of other road users. For example, swerving in and out of traffic is a dangerous driving behavior, which can lead to deaths or injuries. Most drivers are charged with general reckless driving after being involved in an accident. Once the officers arrive at the scene of the crime, they will assess the situation and then collect witness statements. If the evidence collected and witness statements point to you as the cause of the accident, then you will be charged with reckless driving.
Reckless Driving by Faulty Brakes or Failure to Maintain Control
In Virginia, you can also be charged with reckless driving by faulty brakes or failure to maintain control. However, it is not common for a law enforcement officer to pull you over and decide to check whether your brakes are working properly. People facing these charges are usually involved in an accident. If your brakes fail and you ram into another vehicle from behind, or your brake lights fail, and another car hits you from behind, then you will be charged with reckless driving. You can also be charged with reckless driving if you lose control of your vehicle and cause an accident. Sometimes you get distracted while driving, only to realize there is an obstacle on the road. You then swerve to avoid the obstacle, only to hit another vehicle and cause an accident. In such a situation, you will also be charged with reckless driving. This charge is also common in bad weather, especially when you fail to adjust your vehicle accordingly.
Other Forms of Reckless Driving
In Virginia, there are approximately 14 driving behaviors that could lead to reckless driving charges. Apart from those listed above, you can also be charged with reckless driving for passing a stopped school bus, failing to yield to an emergency vehicle, failing to signal properly when stopping, turning or slowing down. Others include drag racing, weaving in and out of traffic, reckless driving by accidents and driving an unsafe vehicle, among others. Lack of attention, distraction or simple carelessness can lead to any of these actions. Sometimes these actions are not intentional or malicious. However, the law requires all drivers on the road to remain alert and to maintain full control of their vehicles. Any action considered dangerous to other road users can lead to reckless driving charges. If you have been accused, then there is the prospect of spending time in jail or ending up with a permanent criminal record. Due to such dire consequences, the first step to protect yourself from unnecessary and unjust consequences should contact Chesterfield County VA reckless driving lawyers to handle your case.
Penalties for Reckless Driving
In Virginia, reckless driving is in the same category as DUI, assault, and possession of marijuana, among others. All these cases are Class I misdemeanor offenses. Regardless of whether it was reckless driving by speed, reckless driving by faulty brakes or failing to yield to an emergency vehicle, as long as it was reckless driving, then you are staring at heavy consequences if convicted. Some of the penalties associated with a reckless driving conviction include:
If you are found guilty of reckless driving, then the law allows for a maximum penalty of $2,500. The actual amount applied depends on various factors such as your driving history, previous charges, local court policy, and various other factors. If it was a case of reckless driving by speed, then some judges will apply the fine for every mph exceeded. In most situations, the amount is usually $6 for every mph exceeded over the posted speed limit. Again, the exact fine amount depends on court practices and local jurisdictions.
Although a jail term is not a common penalty for reckless driving, you can still earn this penalty if you were driving at speeds of 95 to 100 mph. Such speeds are a danger to every other road user, and thus, the possibility of a jail term. Spending time in jail means, you will be away from your family and friends. It also means you will not be able to attend to your career. You might also end up losing your job, due to such circumstances. Therefore, once you receive your reckless driving ticket, speak to one of our lawyers immediately so that we can strategize on the best way to fight these serious charges.
Suspended Driving License
It doesn’t come as a surprise that most people charged with reckless driving depend on their driving licenses to earn a living. The suspension time depends on various factors, including the speeds that you were traveling at, nature of the incident as well as local jurisdictions. A loss or suspension of driving privileges comes with serious ramifications. If you are a commercial driver, then you will not be able to use your CDL, once your normal license has been suspended. In short, you will not be able to work.
Other Consequences of Reckless Driving
Apart from fines, loss of driving privileges and a possible jail term, a reckless driving conviction also comes with other consequences beyond the legal penalties. First, there is an increase in insurance premiums. Insurance companies are in business to make money. Therefore, if you are convicted of reckless driving, then you will be considered as a high-risk customer. They will demand you to pay higher premiums if they are to continue serving you. Others will just terminate your insurance coverage. Once you have been charged with reckless driving, consult your insurance provider so that you can understand their policy regarding these charges. There is also the issue of demerit points. Those found guilty of reckless driving end up with 6 demerit points on their driving record, which stays for at least 11 years. Furthermore, a reckless driving conviction also comes with a permanent criminal record. A criminal record will always come back to haunt you, especially when you are seeking opportunities in education, employment, and housing. Financial institutions may also deny you loans because of your criminal record. Your criminal record will also come up during security clearances.
Experienced Reckless Driving Lawyers
As you can see, there is so much at stake, when it comes to reckless driving charges. The good news is that you don’t have to face these charges alone. At Joyner PLLC law firm, we are here to represent you in court and protect your constitutional rights. Drag racing, speeding, causing an accident, and weaving in traffic, among other forms of aggressive driving behaviors, are considered as misdemeanor criminal offenses in Chesterfield County, Virginia. Reckless driving is not like a mere speeding ticket. A conviction can land you in jail, lead to loss or suspension of driving privileges, as well as a criminal record, which can jeopardize your employment opportunities and education. Criminal cases in Virginia tend to be complex. They can also be intimidating if you have never been in such a situation before. However, as your legal representatives, we will put together the best legal team possible, to defend you in court. If you have been arrested and charged with reckless driving, it is in your best interest to contact our office immediately. Talking to a lawyer early enough helps to retain and secure important evidence while making sure your rights are protected throughout the trial. Most people charged with reckless driving have never faced similar charges before. Some will rush got plead guilty, hoping that the court will be lenient with the penalties. However, considering the ruthless traffic attorneys in Virginia, you will still end up with severe penalties. Our competent and skilled attorneys know the steps to follow and the actions to pursue to protect your rights and to maintain your privileges. Without experienced legal representation, there are high chances that you will face hardships throughout the process, and even end up jeopardizing your case. The longer you wait before contacting us, the less time you give us to build a solid defense strategy for your case. For more information related to reckless driving and the possible consequences, contact us today.
Contact Us Today
Reckless driving is a serious offense in Chesterfield County and throughout Virginia. You can be charged with reckless driving for speeding, drag racing, weaving in and out of traffic, and failing to signal properly, among other aggressive driving behaviors. At Joyner PLLC law firm, we can help you with any form of reckless driving charges that you might be facing. Our experience runs several decades. We understand that you might be feeling worried or anxious, owing to your reckless driving charges. However, let us worry about that. As your reckless driving lawyers, we will make sure that you get the best legal representation. We will help you to understand the complex legal process and ensure your rights are protected at all times. Contact us today and schedule for your free consultation.