S & R Law Firm
First Offense Reckless Driving in Fairfax
Being charged with reckless driving in Fairfax is a stressful experience to say the least. If it’s your first offense, it can be especially worrisome since reckless driving is a class 1 misdemeanor, which is a criminal offense. The consequences of a reckless driving charge can be life-changing. They include expensive fines, the potential for license suspension, and possible jail time, all of which can be overwhelming. On the bright side, however, while it’s true that reckless driving is a serious charge, if it is your first offense and your driving record is otherwise clean, you are more likely to be treated favorably in court. This is especially true if you have a Fairfax reckless driving lawyer on your team. At S&R Law Firm, PLLC, we have helped many Fairfax residents overcome first offense reckless driving charges, and we may be able to help you as well.Should I Plead Guilty for Reckless Driving?
This is among the top question Fairfax residents ask after a first offense reckless driving charge, and the answer is: it depends. If you enter a guilty plea, the judge will ask the officer who charged you about your driving record and then determine a punishment. If your record is free of other reckless driving convictions, your punishment will typically be less severe than it would if you had other convictions. If your case is straightforward and your driving record is clean, it may be fine to represent yourself in court.
However, it is important to remember that a reckless driving charge is a class 1 misdemeanor, and if you are convicted it will stick to your criminal record for life. In many cases, even first offenders can be in danger of a conviction. For example, if your record is clean but you were traveling at an incredibly high speed when you were caught on radar or you harmed someone or their property, you can expect a significantly harsher penalty. In these types of case, it is a good idea to work with a reckless driving lawyer serving Fairfax. An experienced lawyer who has handled many cases like these will be able to enact the best defense tactics for the complex circumstances of your case.
That still leaves us with the question: it a better idea to plead not guilty if you are representing yourself? Often times it can be, as this will require the officer who charged you to prove their case. If the officer does not have strong evidence and it is your first offense, the judge may agree to reduce your charge or your penalty. However, as experienced reckless driving lawyers in Fairfax, we have witnessed the difficulties and harsh penalties people often face when representing themselves in court. Because most people are not well-versed in Virginia law, they struggle to create a strong defense, and are often found guilty if the officer has any evidence against them, such as a radar speed for a reckless driving by speed charge. Even people who commit less serious reckless driving offenses are often found guilty in court because they are unsure how to best to defend themselves. The worst part of this is that reckless driving is a class 1 misdemeanor, the most serious of all misdemeanor charges in Virginia, on par with DUIs and assault and battery. It is a criminal offense that will go on your permanent criminal record if you are found guilty. While other states allow such records to be expunged from your criminal record after a period of time, stringent laws the state of Virginia forbid expungements.
Needless to say, for most people it is not worth it to represent themselves in court and risk being found guilty, as this can have serious consequences including years of increased insurance rates, difficulty finding employment, and expensive fines. The consequences are clearly disproportionate to the severity of a less serious first offense reckless driving charge such as forgetting to turn on your headlights at night or speeding while passing another vehicle. A good lawyer can achieve a much better outcome than you are likely to receive on your own.How a Reckless Driving Attorney Can Help
A good Fairfax reckless driving attorney will have a thorough understanding of Virginia traffic laws and will often be able to create a strong defense based on the specific circumstances of your case. Lawyers can often negotiate plea deals to lesser charges, which can result in reduced fines and prevent a misdemeanor from being on your record. Sometimes, if there is not sufficient evidence against you, they can convince a judge to drop your case.
Even if you are unsure whether you have a case, S&R Law Firm, PLLC can answer your questions, tell you more about your rights, and advise you as to whether a strong defense is possible.
Contact us today at 703-273-6431 for a free consultation.