What You Should do When Charged With Reckless Driving
The Commonwealth of Virginia considers the offense of reckless driving, a Class 1 Misdemeanor, to be very serious. A Class 1 Misdemeanor conviction can result in a penalty of up to one year of jail and up to a $2,500.00 fine. It is not an offense to be taken lightly. Therefore, it is imperative that you retain an attorney to represent your interests.
The most common ways an officer will attempt to establish your speed is by testifying to his pacing procedure or the use of radar. An experienced traffic attorney can make technical legal arguments regarding an officer’s pacing procedure as well as the legitimacy of the radar equipment used. In addition, if a person is found guilty, an experienced attorney can make effective arguments which will serve as a basis for a Judge to reduce the offense to a lesser charge. A reduction would result in much lower insurance rates which could potentially result in significant savings on auto insurance premiums.
1. When pulled over, be cooperative, polite and compliant.
Do not argue with the officer. Your cooperation is perhaps the most effective argument an attorney can make when requesting a reduction. Arguments are for the courtroom- arguing with an officer on the side of the road will hurt your credibility in court.
2. Have your speedometer calibrated.
Do this as soon as possible after you have been charged with Reckless Driving. The longer you wait, the less credibility your argument will have that the speedometer was defective on the date of the alleged offense.
3. If you were cited for any other offenses, take care of those issues as soon as possible.
Often times the officer will cite a driver for additional offenses that only carry fines, such as tinted windows, expired inspection, or expired tags. Take care of these issues as soon as possible and keep receipts and documentation to present to the court. This will demonstrate to the court that you respect the laws of the Commonwealth and will increase your credibility.
4. Enroll in an approved Driver Improvement School.
Many of these schools can be found online and do not require actual physical attendance. For a minimal fee you can complete a course and print out a Certificate of Completion to present to the Judge on your court date. This will show the Judge that you are taking the offense seriously and thus increases the likelihood it may be reduced.
5. Retain an attorney.
Even the most well composed people may get flustered in a court room situation. Hire someone who can articulately make legal arguments as well as arguments for a reduction should that be necessary. In addition, your attorney may speak with the officer in advance of your case being called to garner valuable information or simply explain to the officer why the offense should be reduced with the goal of persuading him or her to communicate to the Judge that they are not opposed to a reduction of the charge.
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