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Fairfax County Reckless Driving Ticket

You’re driving into Fairfax County from Alexandria on I-66, or Arlington on I-495, or you’re coming up on I-95, and suddenly see those dreaded flashing lights. Unsure of your violation, there’s a law enforcement officer right behind you, waiting for you to pull over and stop. As you reach for your license, you await the officer’s explanation. After the usual formalities, the officer tells you that you are being ticketed for Reckless Driving in Fairfax County.

If you get a reckless driving ticket in Fairfax, Virginia, it is important that you call a local Northern Virginia traffic attorney. Reckless driving is very different from a typical speeding ticket and is classified as a class one misdemeanor.

Many people that get reckless driving tickets in Fairfax County feel that they can go to court without an attorney. Based on our experience in Fairfax, we strongly suggest speaking with a Fairfax attorney prior to deciding to going alone. Many Judges in Fairfax will find someone guilty and give a low fine which may sound like a good resolution, but it will leave you with a misdemeanor on you criminal record for life and a reckless driving conviction on your driving record for 11 years. Additionally, it’ll give you 6 points on your driving record. At the max, Reckless Driving can carry a fine of up to $2,500 and/or 12 months in jail and/or a license suspension for up to 6 months.

There are several different ways you can get a reckless driving charge in Fairfax, VA. These ways vary and include:

  • Reckless driving by speed,
  • Improper control,
  • Passing when view is obstructed,
  • Having an overloaded vehicle,
  • Two vehicles driving in one lane,
  • Passing a stopped school bus,
  • Failing to give proper signals,
  • Driving too fast for traffic conditions,
  • Racing, and
  • Not Yielding to Stationary Emergency Vehicles

Reckless driving just for speeding is a Class 1 Misdemeanor, which can include:

  • Fines of up to $2,500
  • Jail time of up to 12 months
  • License suspension and loss of driving privileges for up to six months
  • Adding six demerit points to your driving record
  • A criminal misdemeanor charge that remains on your record for up to 11 years

What you thought was just a simple speeding ticket is much more than that. Your freedom, your liberty and your job can be at risk with a criminal charge that will stay on your criminal and driving record without the possibility of expungement. Once the state notifies your insurance company, your policy rates may also dramatically increase.

As a defendant in Fairfax County, you aren’t allowed to conference your own case with the prosecutor on your own, or speak to anyone in court, including the police officer and the prosecutor. You must have legal counsel who can do that for you. Unless your charge contains the possibility of jail time, you won’t be eligible for a court-appointed attorney.

It’s time to hire the right attorney for a Fairfax reckless driving ticket.

“I’m Not From Virginia”—The Out-Of-State Driver

If you’re vising Fairfax County on business or vacation, you may just dismiss that ticket as a minor violation. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. You’re being charged with a criminal misdemeanor, as Jalopnik’s editor-in-chief Patrick George and Jason Werth of the Washington Nationals both found out the hard way. (Werth was stopped in Fairfax, on I-495 near the 193 exit.) Patrick George’s takeaway advice: never, ever speed in Virginia, anywhere, under any circumstances.

You may not realize that the speed limit on the road you’re traveling on has changed. You may be driving 65, and suddenly find yourself in a 50 mph area, putting you 15 mph over the limit. Some smaller towns have even slower speed limits with signs that are easy to miss. And anything over 80 mph is automatically a reckless driving charge anywhere in Virginia.

If it happens to you, read your ticket carefully, and check the law section to examine your charges closely. If it’s just a speeding ticket, you may weigh the costs of an attorney against just paying the fine. But if you’re charged with reckless driving, that’s an entirely different matter—and your state of residence doesn’t matter.

By paying the fine and pleading guilty, you may not realize that you’ve pleaded guilty to a criminal charge that may haunt you years later. There is no way to expunge that charge, because Virginia doesn’t allow for it, even for a first conviction.

Because courts vary widely across the Commonwealth, contact a Fairfax reckless driving lawyer who is familiar with the county court, the law, local rules, and has the experience to advise you on how to proceed.

If you’re ticketed with reckless driving while visiting Virginia, contact us today so we can help you decide how to proceed.

Should I Hire a Fairfax County Reckless Driving Lawyer?

Quite often, we are asked “should I hire an attorney for reckless driving.” Each county and city in Virginia handles reckless driving tickets differently which is why you need to speak with an attorney that works in Fairfax frequently. One of concerns you may have, outside of your ticket, is the cost of a reckless driving lawyer. Our office offers free consultations which allow us to discuss the details of your case and your desired outcome and you will receive a quote. During that consultation, we can discuss the facts of your case with you and determine most likely result based on our knowledge of the courthouse, judges, and prosecutors. As attorneys that practice frequently in Fairfax County, we can recommend that you complete specific tasks that may help you avoid the misdemeanor charge, jail, or even a license suspension. The attorney’s in our firm appear in front of the same Prosecutors and Judges just about daily. This allows us to have a relationship with them and an understanding of what they consider when determining whether to make a reduction in your case. While it may sound absurd to go to jail for a reckless driving first offense or have a license suspension of reckless driving in Fairfax, it’s a possibility depending on the facts of your case. That being said, we recommend you contact S&R law firm for a free consultation with a seasoned reckless driving attorney.

How To Beat A Reckless Driving Ticket In Fairfax County, Virginia

Your best chance to defeat a reckless driving charge is with a Fairfax reckless driving lawyer who understands the law as well as the traffic and criminal court system in Fairfax County.

We will examine your current driving record, as well as all the facts of the case. As part of your defense, we will require the state/county to meet the burden of proof and look for any inconsistencies that may have been committed. This includes proof of calibration of any police equipment used to detect speeding, as well as proof of the location of the violation.

Will I go to jail or lose my license for reckless driving in Fairfax County?

Every day, prospective clients ask whether they will go to jail or lose their license for reckless driving. If it is your first reckless driving ticket and the speed was not very high, the accident did not cause many damages, or the driving behavior was not very dangerous then the consequences will most likely not include jail or a loss of license. Most reckless driving cases that we represent clients for end in a favorable, non-criminal outcome.

Additionally, for most cases, we can waive your appearance in court, so you do not have to take time out of your busy schedule. During your free consultation, we will discuss whether that is an option that is available to you in your case.

So, what do prosecutors and judges consider for Reckless Driving Charges in Fairfax County?

There are several factors that go into whether the more serious consequences of a reckless driving ticket will be likely in your case. The first concern is the driving behavior in general. Were you driving at a high rate of speed with a lot of cars on the road? Or if there was an accident, how bad was the damage and how bad were the injuries? Your attorney will be able to instruct you on what information you would need to bring to help mitigate the answers to the above questions.

The next biggest concern is your driving record and interaction with the officer. The first questions they ask, outside of driving behavior, include what is on your record and how you interacted with the officer. While you may have a valid reason for each prior ticket on your record or your negative interaction with the officer pulling you over, the Prosecutor or Judge might not understand or have the time to hear your explanation. During your free consultation, we take the time to go through your driving record and interaction with the officer and can advise you on next steps to help get you the best resolution in your case.

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