S & R Law Firm
Loudoun Reckless Driving Lawyer
When we hear the phrase “reckless driving,” we usually think of a driver who is driving in a dangerously aggressive manner. And while it’s true that road rage and other obviously unsafe driving practices can lead to a reckless driving charge, in the Commonwealth of Virginia, you can be charged with reckless driving for even a minor traffic offense. Driving a few miles over the speed limit, forgetting to put on your turn signal, or getting in an accident because your brakes went out could all land you in court for reckless driving. The worst part about this is that in Loudoun County and all of Virginia, reckless driving is a class 1 misdemeanor. That means it will stay on your criminal record permanently and that it carries heavy fines and penalties. If you are charged with reckless driving, one of the smartest things you can do is consult with a skilled Loudoun reckless driving lawyer who may be able to improve your outcome. If you are in need of help, don’t hesitate to contact S&R Law Firm, PLLC for a free consultation on your case.Loudoun Reckless Driving Laws Explained
The first thing to know about reckless driving laws in Virginia is how reckless driving is defined under Virginia Criminal Code. Section 46.2-852 defines reckless driving as:
“Irrespective of the maximum speeds permitted by law, any person who drives a vehicle on any highway recklessly or at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person shall be guilty of reckless driving.”
What is important to note here is that the definition is subjective. Any driving deemed dangerous by an officer can qualify as reckless driving. In addition, you can still be charged with reckless driving even if you are not speeding. For example, if weather conditions are poor, you could be charged with reckless driving even if you are driving at or under the speed limit if an officer considers the speed you are traveling at dangerous.
Beyond the general definition of reckless driving, the law specifies several traffic violations which can be charged as reckless driving, including:
- Speeding in excess of 80 mph
- Speeding 20 or more mph over the posted limit
- Driving a vehicle that is not within your control or that has faulty brakes
- Passing on a curve
- Driving if your view is obstructed
- Passing two vehicles abreast
- Driving two abreast in one lane
- Passing a vehicle at a railroad crossing
- Passing a school bus that is stopped
- Failing to properly signal
- Driving too fast for conditions or traffic
- Exceeding the speed limit
- Failure to yield the right-of-way
- Reckless driving in a parking lot
Whether you have been charged with one of the offenses above or with a different offense, contacting a reckless driving attorney in Loudoun County is typically in your best interest. At S&R Law Firm, PLLC, our Loudoun county traffic attorneys offer free consultations where we will explain your rights and tell you whether you may be able to get your charges reduced or dismissed.How Will I be Punished for Reckless Driving?
Any reckless driving charge is considered a class 1 misdemeanor and can be punished by up to 12 months in jail, up to a $2500 fine, six demerit points on your DMV record, and the suspension of your license for up to 6 months. The charge will also remain on your driving record for 11 years, and on your criminal record for life.
While the punishments for reckless driving in Loudoun County can be serious, what is often worse is the effect such a charge can have on your life. Skyrocketing insurance rates, the loss of your job if you drive a vehicle for work, and being able to drive your kids to or from school are just some of the repercussions can make life difficult to say the least. All misdemeanors are a permanent part of your criminal record, which means that when you apply for a job, an apartment, or for military service, it might show up in a background check. These reasons alone are often enough to lead people to get in touch with a Loudoun reckless driving lawyer who can help them keep their lives on track.Can I Get my Charges Reduced?
A good Virginia reckless driving attorney can often get your charge reduced, or in some cases, dismissed, thus clearing your permanent record.
For example, under Virginia Code Section 46.2-869, a lesser charge known as improper driving, which is an infraction (as opposed to a class 1 misdemeanor). In many cases, an attorney can help you get your reckless driving charge reduced to improper driving if the scenario is less severe. This is true even if you followed another vehicle too closely or drove aggressively enough to be considered a hazard to other drivers. This lesser charge may apply if you drive on the wrong side of the highway, don’t drive properly in your traffic lane, follow someone too closely, or get on the highway without yielding the right-of-way, and also applies in reckless driving by speed case. Because improper driving is considered an infraction, the maximum penalty one can face is a monetary fine not to exceed $500.When to Call a Reckless Driving Lawyer
If you have been charged with reckless driving in Loudoun County, getting in touch with a reckless driving lawyer serving Loudoun could be helpful. Many people worry about expenses, and want to know: how much does a Loudoun reckless driving lawyer cost? The reality is that depending on your situation, the cost can be significantly less than imagined, and is often worth it. A skilled lawyer can often get you back on the road without a suspended license, keep you from accumulating points on your driving record, or help you steer clear of jail time.
Most importantly, insurance companies are infamously known for adding substantial penalties to premiums for reckless driving convictions. In some instances, an insurance company can opt to drop an individual from their policy or refuse a policy renewal based on a reckless driving conviction. In most cases, clients have saved by hiring our affordable Loudoun County reckless driving lawyers.
If you need help after being charged with reckless driving in Loudoun County, the Virginia reckless driving lawyers at S&R Law Firm, PLLC may be able to help you get your charge reduced or dismissed. Get in touch with us today for a free consultation at 703-273-6431.What Happens after a Loudoun Reckless Driving Charge
If you were recently charged with reckless driving in Loudoun County, you may have assumed you would be able to pay your ticket and get back on the road. But in the Commonwealth of Virginia, reckless driving is a class 1 misdemeanor, a criminal offense. While being charged with a crime can be scary, one of the best ways to reduce your stress is to have a clear sense of what to expect going forward, and the best source of information is a Loudoun reckless driving lawyer. If you are in need of help or have questions after a reckless driving charge, the team at S&R Law Firm, PLLC can tell you more about your rights during a free consultation.Understanding Your Ticket
Sometimes after a traffic stop, it is unclear whether you have been charged with speeding, a traffic offense, or the more serious charge of reckless driving. But knowing the specific charge is essential because if you have been charged with reckless driving, you cannot simply pay your ticket and move on as you would with a traffic ticket: you must appear in court. In Virginia, class 1 criminal misdemeanors cannot be prepaid – in a reckless driving case, your appearance is mandated so that a judge can make an individualized assessment of whether a license suspension or the imposition of incarceration is necessary.
If you are at all unsure about this, examine your ticket. It will specify the offense you are being charged with and clarify whether you will have to appear in court. If you see that the box on your ticket that says the defendant has the right to not appear in court isn’t checked, you know you are dealing with a criminal charge. If you believe that your rights were somehow violated or a mistake was made when you were charged, your best course of action is not to try to handle this yourself, but to contact a reckless driving attorney in Loudoun who will be familiar with area laws and judges.We Might be Able to Waive Your Appearance
Quite often, we can waive your appearance even if you’re charged with reckless driving. This depends on the gravity of your reckless driving charge (i.e. the speed, whether injuries were sustained if it is an accident case, etc.). If you are an out of state driver charged with reckless driving, we might be able to save you from taking time off and spending unnecessary money on travel. Call our Loudoun County reckless driving attorneys to see whether your appearance can be waived.Understanding the Seriousness of the Charge
In Loudoun County, reckless driving is a very serious criminal offense with serious implications for your future. Many people think that they can simply ask the officer who pulled them over to let them off or go to court on their own and ask the judge to dismiss or reduce their charges. In Loudoun County, prosecutors have the ability to amend reckless driving charges to lesser offenses such as speeding, improper driving, and in some instances, a non moving violation. Unlike other counties, however, prosecutors in Loudoun only conference cases with attorneys (as opposed to pro se litigants). If you’re hoping to get your reckless driving charge reduced to a non-criminal traffic offense, we strongly encourage you to seek counsel – consultations at our firm are absolutely free. After a charge of reckless driving in Loudoun County, you could face up to $2500 in fines, up to 12 months in jail, and the loss of your license. On top of this, since reckless driving is a criminal charge it will remain on your criminal record for life and cannot be removed. If you are unsure about your rights in this situation or want to know whether or not it is worth it to fight your case, discussing it during a consultation with a Loudoun reckless driving attorney is in your best interest. At S&R Law Firm, PLLC, we have helped many people understand and fight these charges and we may be able to help you as well.What Happens in Court?
In Loudoun County, court for reckless driving is more formal than in other Virginia jurisdictions where only the charging officer and the defense attorney are present to present your case to a judge. In Loudoun County, there is always a prosecutor involved, and while this can make court feel more intimidating, in reality this can be a good thing. It will give your attorney the opportunity to discuss evidence against you, as well as your background, with the prosecutor, and potentially negotiate an outcome that is acceptable to all parties, thus avoiding a trial.
As a reminder, it is essential that you attend court on your court date and that you are on time. The Loudoun County General District Court address is:
18 E. Market Street, 3rd Floor
Leesburg, VA 20178
You can find a directory and contact information for the Loudoun County court here. Finally, make sure not to confuse the General District Court with the historic Leesburg Courthouse, which you can learn more about here.Need Legal Help? Contact a Virginia Reckless Driving Attorney
If you are in need of legal help after a reckless driving in Loudoun charge, the team at S&R Law Firm, PLLC may be able to help with a free consultation. During this conversation, you will discuss your case with an experienced reckless driving attorney serving Loudoun, who will tell you more about your rights, the pros and cons of fighting the charge, and how we may be able to help. Once they give you more details on what to expect in court.
Contact us today at 703-273-6431.Steps to Take After a Loudoun County Reckless Driving Charge
After being charged with reckless driving in Loudoun County, your first impulse may be to plead guilty and move forward. This is certainly the easiest way to approach the situation, especially if you weren’t excessively speeding or did not cause an accident. But before you plead guilty, keep in mind that there are several steps you could take that could potentially help you get a better outcome in court. Also keep in mind that while not every reckless driving case can benefit from working with a Loudoun reckless driving attorney, many can. At S&R Law Firm, PLLC, we have assisted many local residents and the outcome of their case by reducing their charges, fines, and eliminating jail and license suspensions.Step 1: Understand the Severity of Your Crime
A lot of people fail to realize that being charged with reckless driving is not the same as being charged with simple speeding or a traffic offense. Reckless driving in Loudoun County is a very serious crime with harsh penalties including up to 12 months in jail, a $2500 fine, and the possible loss of your license. Because reckless driving is a class 1 misdemeanor, it will stay on your criminal record and show up on employment and other applications for the rest of your life. If you plead guilty immediately, you face all these potential penalties, so keep this in mind.Step 2: Check Your Driving Record
Many types of traffic offenses stay on a record for longer than any of us would like, so after a reckless driving charge make sure to review your driving record. Start by checking to see how many DMV points you have on your license; if you know you’ve received other reckless driving charges, speeding tickets, or other traffic offenses, you may have enough points that your license could be suspended if you are found guilty. If you have been charged with reckless driving multiple times, it could also negatively impact the outcome of your case in court. If your record isn’t stellar, consulting with a reckless driving attorney in Loudoun could be useful.Step 3: Have Your Speedometer Checked
If you were charged with reckless driving by speed, it may be worth it to have your speedometer checked and recalibrated. For example, if your car is traveling at 85 M.P.H., your speedometer may depict a speed of 80 M.P.H. This might not sound like a huge difference, but if the speed limit was 70 M.P.H., an argument can be made that you lacked the knowledge to drive at a reckless speed. Although your intent does not matter for a finding of guilt, evidence of your vehicle calibrations can be used for purposes of mitigation. Since countless reckless driving charges are due to speeding, if your speedometer wasn’t functioning properly you may be able to use this evidence to defend yourself in court. If you successfully get a reckless driving charge reduced to speeding, it will eliminate jail time and prevent the charge from appearing on your criminal record.Step 4: Enroll in a Driver Improvement Course
Anyone who is charged with reckless driving must appear in court. By taking the initiative to enroll in a driver improvement course before your court date, you will demonstrate to the judge that you are taking steps to better your driving. In some cases, the court will order you to take this type of course anyway but doing it on your own may help you get back in the driver’s seat more quickly. If you are working with a Loudoun County reckless driving lawyer, they will recommend whether the course should be taken before or after court – this is based largely on your driving record. Most importantly, your attorney will let you know which driver improvement class to complete – there are roughly five variations of classes.Step 5: Be on Time for Court
Anyone charged with reckless driving must appear in court. Make sure you arrive on your correct court date and that you are on time. The Loudoun County General District Court address is:
18 E. Market Street, 3rd Floor
Leesburg, VA 20178
To get more information about Loudoun County court, you can find their contact information here. Finally, make sure you go to the correct courthouse at the above address, not the historic Leesburg Courthouse, which you can learn more about here.Step 6: Consult with a Virginia Reckless Driving Lawyer
Whether you think you are guilty as charged or are certain that you are innocent and think no judge could convict you of reckless driving, it is worth it to work with a knowledgeable Loudoun County lawyer. A good reckless driving lawyer serving Loudoun County can often help you get your charge reduced to a non-criminal charge, or in some cases get it dismissed.
The team at S&R Law Firm, PLLC has significant experience helping residents of Loudoun County with reckless driving charges, and we may also be able to help you keep your license, pay lower fines, or avoid jail time. Get in touch for a free consultation to learn more.
To learn more about how we may be able to help, get in touch with us at 703-273-6431.Can You Get a Loudoun Reckless Driving Charge Reduced?
After being charged with reckless driving in Loudoun County, many people are surprised to learn that they are facing criminal charges that could severely impact the rest of their lives. All class 1 misdemeanors, including reckless driving, can be punished with up to 12 months in jail, a $2500 fine, and the loss of your license. Increased insurance rates, DMV points on your driving record, and a permanent criminal record can all make life incredibly hectic to say the least. For many people facing a reckless driving charge, it is a good idea to work with a Loudoun reckless driving attorney who can help get their charges reduced. The team at S&R Law Firm, PLLC has helped many residents in this situation and we may be able to help you as well. We’ll tell you more about fighting this charge below.When Can I Fight a Reckless Driving Charge?
There are several situations where you may be able to fight a reckless driving charge. For example, if you feel that you were pulled over for no reason or feel certain that you were pulled over although you were not driving at the alleged speed, your attorney can review the officers certificate of calibration for the speed detection device that was used, along with certificates for the tuning fork.
In a different scenario, if you were charged with reckless driving after an accident that was the fault of the other driver, you could potentially have the charge reduced or dismissed. In this case, you will have to carefully describe the details of what happened in court, since the officer who charged you likely did not witness the accident. Because the officer did not witness the accident, he will likely ask you for your version of events. Keep in mind that anything you say can be used against you in court. For this reason, our Loudoun reckless driving attorneys encourage defendants to refrain from making incriminatory statements after being involved in an accident. If there were any witnesses present, their statements will also be taken, and could benefit your case.
Sometimes, if you were charged with reckless driving by speed after being caught on radar, you have the right to request proof that the radar was properly calibrated and that the registered speed was accurate. If the wasn’t calibrated, this could benefit your case and potentially get your charges dismissed. Likewise, if your own speedometer was not properly calibrated, you could argue that you were not aware that you were speeding. In this case, you should have your speedometer calibrated and get proof of the services from the technician. You will then have to present this evidence in court.Reckless Driving Charge Reductions
As you can see, dismissals of reckless driving charges only happen in very specific scenarios. What is more likely is the charges being reduced. If it is your first offense reckless driving charge, the court may be willing to reduce your charge to simple speeding or improper driving, which are not criminal charges. Neither will go on your criminal record and will result in fewer DMV points on your driving record.
Your attorney can convey to the court that you have reevaluated your driving techniques and that you are now more cognizant of your speed. Participating in a driver improvement clinic that is approved by the court is one way to do this. Working with a Loudoun County reckless driving attorney who has a good relationship with area judges and prosecutors can often be helpful in guiding you in this process.
Sometimes after a first offense reckless driving charge, a judge will reduce your charges if you agree to do community service. Although you may not feel that you have time for work in your community, it is far better than having a reckless driving charge on your criminal record. If you are offered this option, make sure to follow all instructions provided by your attorney to carefully to ensure that the charges are reduced.When to Seek Legal Help
Any time you are seeking to get a reckless driving charge reduced or dropped, it is a good idea to work with a lawyer, or at minimum consult with one. A good lawyer can often help you avoid jail time, expensive fines, and potentially get the charges against you reduced or dropped. In many of the scenarios described above, extensive legal knowledge is required to understand the laws involved and properly argue your case. Consultations with a reckless driving attorney serving Loudoun County are usually free and can help you understand how and if a lawyer can help.
If you have questions about your reckless driving charge, contact S&R Law Firm, PLLC for a free consultation today. You can reach us at 703-273-6431.