In Virginia, you can catch a charge of reckless driving in several different ways. The most common way is called “reckless driving by speed” where you’re alleged to have driven more than 20 miles an hour over the limit or 85 miles an hour or more regardless of the limit. There’s even a “catch-all” law that says you can get charged with reckless driving regardless of the maximum speed if the police think that your driving put someone’s life or property in danger! This charge often occurs when there was a traffic accident and the police think you may have caused it.
Sometimes, even letting your mind wander for a moment can lead to a situation where you’re getting charged with reckless driving. Reckless driving is a serious charge—it is a crime classified as a class 1 misdemeanor. That means you face up to 12 months in jail, a fine of $2,500, or a combination of the two. On top of going to jail and/or getting a fine, you also lose your license for anywhere between 60 days and 6 months.
A charge of reckless driving can change your life. If you find yourself facing a reckless driving charge—no matter what kind—you need an experienced attorney to fight for you.
There are many defenses out there to help you avoid a conviction and to protect your future. The most common and effective defense is from a published case called Powers v. Commonwealth which states that the mere fact that there was an accident does not mean a person was driving recklessly. Another major defense is the classic “reasonable doubt” argument. Since reckless driving is a crime, the Commonwealth has to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt—that’s the highest standard of proof in the law. Often, the police don’t bring the necessary witnesses to court for a reckless driving trial. An experienced attorney will know how to stop the officer from testifying about events that the officer did not personally witness. If the officer can’t testify about what other people saw, the case should be dismissed.
Anyone with a reckless driving charge faces serious and life-changing consequences. There are many defenses to this type of charge and an experienced trial attorney can help you navigate the court system to make the best defense for you.