DUI

Can the Police Search My Car During a DUI Stop Without a Warrant in Virginia?

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures by law enforcement. This protection prohibits law enforcement from searching places where the individual has a “legitimate expectation of privacy.” To legally perform a search and seizure, authorities typically need a warrant for the search based on probable cause. In some cases, a court will exclude evidence obtained through a violation of the Fourth Amendment. Several exceptions apply to the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures. Many criminal defendants find these exceptions unfair and confusing. An experienced criminal attorney can help explain what these exceptions are and what they mean. If authorities stop you for DUI and violate your rights during a resultant police vehicle search, contact an attorney right away. An experienced DUI attorney can guide you through the criminal process and help prepare your legal defense. When Is a Vehicle Search by Police Permissible?  Many clients want to know: when can police search a vehicle without a warrant? There are several ways authorities can legally perform a police vehicle search without a warrant. The following situations demonstrate these exceptions to the Fourth Amendment. Search by Consent Police can conduct a legal search of your vehicle by obtaining your consent to do so. Even if the police don’t suspect you of drunk driving, they might still ask for permission to search your vehicle. In many cases, people give law enforcement consent to search because they do not realize they have a choice. Getting pulled over is a stressful experience and causes many drivers to react in the heat of the moment. However, it’s crucial to remember that you can refuse an officer’s request to search your vehicle. Sadly, the police won’t advise you of your right to refuse them when they ask for consent to search. That’s why you need to understand your rights before the situation occurs. If the police conduct a search without permission, try not to panic. Arguing with the officers or trying to obstruct their search, however illegal, could land you in more trouble. The court will likely exclude any illegally obtained evidence anyway, so do not add to your troubles by struggling with the officers. Search Incident to Lawful Arrest Unfortunately, officers can conduct a vehicle search without consent or a warrant in some situations. For example, law enforcement can search an individual after performing a lawful arrest. Thus, if an officer arrests you for driving under the influence (DUI), the officer can search the areas in your vehicle that were accessible to you in the driver’s seat. Typically, this means the entire interior of a vehicle. But it does not include detached spaces such as the trunk of your car. This justification for a warrantless search aims to keep law enforcement officers safe in the event the arrestee has a weapon handy. Plain View Doctrine A third way to justify a warrantless vehicle search by police involves the plain view doctrine. Under this doctrine, officers can seize items in plain view if they have reason to believe the item is contraband. Simply put, if an officer sees contraband while standing in an area where they are allowed to be, the officer can seize the item. For example, if an officer pulls you over for speeding and sees an open alcoholic container in the cupholder, the officer does not need a search warrant to seize the container and charge you with the appropriate violation. Probable Cause A common way law enforcement justifies vehicle searches without a warrant is by demonstrating probable cause. Probable cause exists when an officer sees or smells something, or otherwise has cause to believe that you committed or are committing a crime. In the case of a DUI, the smell of alcohol on your breath combined with bloodshot eyes and slurred speech can help establish probable cause that you are driving under the influence. This can give them probable cause to arrest you and to subsequently search your car. Even if an officer simply sees an open alcoholic beverage in your cup holder, that can give them probable cause to search your car because it indicates you have committed a crime. Inventory Search In some cases, law enforcement will impound your vehicle when you are arrested for DUI. When a vehicle is impounded, officers can conduct a police vehicle search to inventory its contents. Officers perform inventory searches to ensure all of your property gets returned to you. Additionally, inventory searches help police departments avoid allegations that officers are stealing an arrestee’s property. However, officers occasionally locate additional contraband and evidence of criminal activity during an inventory search.  An Attorney Can Help You Challenge an Unreasonable Police Vehicle Search When your freedom is at stake, consulting with an attorney who understands the exceptions to the Fourth Amendment is critical. Otherwise, you could leave your future in the hands of someone that is not qualified to represent you. I have represented many clients throughout Virginia who faced various levels of DUI charges. You need an ally and advocate to help you understand the potential defenses available in your criminal case and whether they apply to you. My results-oriented approach to cases focuses on getting your charges reduced, or your case dismissed whenever possible. I routinely file motions and argue to protect my clients’ constitutional rights— including arguing for the exclusion of any illegally-obtained evidence. So don’t hesitate. Contact my office today to set up your initial consultation.

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Reckless Driving

Driving Recklessly in a Work Zone in Virginia: What You Should Know

Like other states, Virginia regulates its roadways by implementing speed limits that drivers must follow when driving within the state. Exceeding the posted speed limit can result in a speeding ticket for the driver, and enhance the danger faced by everyone on the road. In Virginia, a driver commits reckless driving when they exceed the posted speed limit by more than 20 miles per hour. Driving recklessly increases the risk of causing a car accident and limits the driver’s ability to react in fast-developing situations.  According to the Virginia Highway Safety Office, approximately 22,479 vehicle accidents were speed-related crashes in 2020. Speed becomes an even more crucial factor in active construction zones. Many times, the construction zone receives an alternative speed limit to the one originally posted for that location. That is because the equipment, materials, and construction workers create a more dangerous environment for motorists and the workers themselves. The danger is enhanced by drivers caught speeding in construction zones. In fact, 34 pedestrians sustained injuries while working on a Virginia roadway in 2020 alone. According to the Virginia Department of Transportation, approximately 7.3 work zone crashes occur every day within the state. If you received a traffic ticket for speeding in a work zone, you need an experienced traffic attorney to handle your case. Though it can seem minor, Virginia speeding fines can result in significant financial hardship for criminal defendants. Contact Andrew Flusche, Attorney at Law, PLC., today for your free consultation. Reckless Driving in Virginia As a general matter, Virginia defines reckless driving as operating a vehicle on any highway recklessly or at a speed or in a manner that endangers the life, limb, or property of any person. More specifically, Virginia Code 46.2-862 states that a motorist who drives more than 20 miles per hour over the posted speed limit or over 85 miles per hour commits the offense of reckless driving. Additionally, Virginia Code 46.2-864 states that any person who operates a motor vehicle on a highway under construction at a speed or in a manner that endangers the life, limb, or property of any person commits the offense of reckless driving.  As a class one misdemeanor, a reckless driving conviction carries the potential of up to 12 months in jail, a fine of up to $2,500, and a license suspension of up to six months. Additionally, the DMV will assess six demerit points against your driving record. Highway Work Zone Speed Limit Violations Virginia Code 46.2-878.1 makes it a crime to operate a motor vehicle in excess of a maximum speed limit established specifically for a work zone. However, the violation must occur when workers are present, and the work zone must place signs that display the maximum speed limit and the penalty for any violation. Therefore, you cannot face charges if you violated a work zone speed limit when no workers were present. Violation of this statute warrants a fine of no more than $500. As you can see, speeding in a construction zone results in a significantly lower fine than reckless driving. The statute defines highway work zones as construction or maintenance areas located on or beside a highway and marked by appropriate warning signs. Authorities can charge motorists with violations of both this statute and reckless driving.  How Can a Reckless Driving Lawyer Help?  A reckless driving attorney can advise you on steps to take to help mitigate your case, such as: Calibrating your speedometer; Enrolling in driver’s education courses; and Completing community service hours. In some cases, an attorney can even get your charges dismissed entirely. In others, an attorney can negotiate for charges with less severe penalties. For example, the fines for speeding in a construction zone are less severe than those imposed for reckless driving.  Many people receive a traffic ticket for speeding in a work zone. Don’t make the mistake of showing up to court without representation. I frequently meet individuals who regret not hiring an attorney to defend their reckless driving charges.  Did You Get a Traffic Ticket for Speeding in a Work Zone? Contact an Experienced Attorney Today Hiring a reckless driving lawyer can mean the difference between a guilty conviction and having your charges dismissed. My professional relationships with local law enforcement and prosecutors help me navigate my clients’ cases toward their desired results. I have represented thousands of clients with their Virginia criminal charges. I tackle all of my cases with a result-oriented approach looking to have your case dismissed or your charges reduced. Contact my office today to set up your initial consultation.

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Reckless Driving

Reckless Driving vs. Careless Driving in Virginia

Reckless driving and careless driving are not the same things under Virginia law. Virginia law gives each term a precise meaning. However, the crimes are connected under Virginia law. Knowing the difference between careless driving vs. reckless driving is very important if you face either of those charges. Careless and reckless driving are separate crimes in Virginia. They are both criminal motor vehicle offenses that you must take seriously. Otherwise, you could go to jail, pay a large fine, and lose your driver’s license. Furthermore, your car insurance might skyrocket.  You could potentially avoid those harsh consequences by contacting a highly experienced and reputable traffic defense attorney from Virginia for representation. Do not allow your mistake of careless or reckless driving to ruin your life. Contact the team at Andrew Flusche today to get started. Is Careless Driving the Same as Reckless Driving? Careless driving under Virginia law refers to a specific crime and not merely driving negligently. Virginia’s traffic law defines careless driving as a Class I misdemeanor. In Virginia, Class I misdemeanors carry a maximum one-year jail sentence and a fine up to $2,500. Careless driving in Virginia refers to driving without exercising caution or driving while distracted, such as texting while driving. However, the law contains two additional elements, or components, that the Commonwealth must prove.  Careless driving or distracted driving must cause a serious bodily injury to a person defined as a “vulnerable road user.” The vulnerable road user must be on the road legally at the time of the incident.  The statute defines vulnerable road users broadly. Under the law, a vulnerable road user is anyone who is: Walking, Riding a bicycle, Riding a horse or other animal, Riding a skateboard, Riding in a wheelchair, Rollerskating,  Riding a scooter, or Riding in a vehicle drawn by an animal. A different charge might apply if the person injured was not lawfully on the road. A person charged by police with careless driving cannot also face reckless driving charges for the same incident. Similarly, a person facing reckless driving charges cannot also face careless driving charges. Without proof of a serious bodily injury to a vulnerable road user, the accused cannot face careless driving charges. However, the driver could face other charges like reckless driving.  Reckless Driving vs. Careless Driving According to Virginia law, reckless driving occurs when a person drives in any way, including speeding, that endangers the life, limb, or property of another. The crime is based on the dangerous driving itself and does not depend upon the result, unlike careless driving.  Reckless driving is a Class I misdemeanor.  However, the Commonwealth could seek punishment for reckless driving as a Class 6 felony if: The driver did not have a valid driver license because of a previous moving violation, and  Their reckless driving is the sole cause of another person’s death.  A Class 6 felony in Virginia carries a sentence of either one year in jail or one to five years in prison, a $2,500 fine, or both.  Facing Careless or Reckless Driving Charges in Virginia? Contact Us Today As a traffic defense attorney in Virginia, I understand all of the nuances in the state’s laws that I can use to benefit my clients. Judges have broad discretion to dismiss or reduce charges from a criminal offense that carries jail time to a moving violation that is punishable by a fine. Through my years of practice, I understand how to persuade judges to rule in my client’s favor.  Keep in mind that there are more than criminal penalties at stake. You will receive points on your license after a conviction for either a careless or reckless driving charge, and your insurance could go up. That is why you should contact me, Andrew Flusche, Virginia traffic defense attorney, today at (540) 318-5824, before going to court to answer any traffic charge.

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Reckless Driving

Reckless Driving Statistics in Virginia: Important News You Must Know

Citizens in our state and those traveling through it view our law enforcement agencies as ones that vigorously enforce motor-vehicle-related laws. Initially, you may relate this to speed limits. But enforcement does not end there. Also, enforced? Laws regarding reckless driving. Statistics show that Virginia has a high rate of reckless drivers. Make no mistake: catching and prosecuting these drivers is a goal of Virginia’s criminal justice system. Reckless Driving Defined Virginia law defines reckless driving as driving a vehicle on any highway recklessly or at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger a person’s Life,  Limb, or  Property. You do not have to be speeding for the police to charge you with reckless driving. The primary issue is whether law enforcement believes that your driving put another in danger (or injured another) because it was beyond careless. Reckless Driving Statistics A national study found that 18 out of 10,000 drivers in the United States were convicted of driving recklessly within the past several years. This same study also found Virginia to be number one in reckless driving. Virginia had: 68.6 reckless drivers per 10,000 drivers; and 279% more reckless drivers than the national average.  None of Virginia’s bordering states had similar reckless driving statistics. The findings are considered highly reliable. Statisticians derived the information from internal data such as driver records of car owners and external data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the FBI’s latest police employee data. Virginia Takes Action Taking no pride in the danger on Virginia roads due to reckless driving, the State has long sought to address the reckless driving statistics. Here are two developments in Virginia reckless driving facts. Criminalizing Reckless Driving The government of the State has long analyzed Virginia’s reckless driving statistics. In 2011, Virginia State Crime Commission produced an executive summary regarding the problems of reckless driving. The result was in part to remind those who make the laws that In Virginia, reckless driving must be considered a crime and not treated as a traffic infraction.  Punishments for Reckless Driving If law enforcement charges you with reckless driving, be aware that you are dealing with a criminal charge. Based on Virginia laws, you may face a misdemeanor or felony conviction, jail time, and a mandatory fine. You may also suffer the consequences of points on your license and a possible increase in insurance premiums. As a result, you will need a criminal defense attorney. Andrew Flusche, Attorney at Law, PLC I’m Andrew Flusche, a traffic and misdemeanor lawyer in Fredericksburg, Virginia. I understand that people make mistakes, and I never judge my clients. I know that a criminal conviction can impact your license, job, freedom, and even your insurance rates. I will do everything possible to protect your rights and fight for you. If you need a lawyer, contact Andrew Flusche, Attorney at Law, PLC. You can call toll-free, 540-318-5824 (English and Spanish available), fill out an online form, or reach out via email to andrew@andrewflusche.com.

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Reckless Driving

Chances of Going to Jail for Reckless Driving in Virginia

If charged with reckless driving, you may wonder what are the chances of going to jail for reckless driving in Virginia. The reality of the situation is that a charge of reckless driving in Virginia may carry jail time. However, retaining the assistance of a qualified Virginia reckless driving attorney may help you avoid jail time for your charge.  What Is Reckless Driving?  In Virginia, reckless driving is any action behind the wheel that is reckless to such a degree as to endanger others’ lives. Therefore, several different actions may constitute reckless driving in Virginia. Some typical examples of reckless driving include the following: Speeding—driving over 85 mph or exceeding the speed limit by 20 mph or more. Ignoring traffic signs and signals—individuals who race through red lights or stop signs or fail to yield put others on the roadway at risk. Drag racing—racing your vehicle on a roadway where others are driving or pedestrians are present endangers others’ lives. Illegally passing—someone who passes another vehicle illegally on a two-lane roadway with limited visibility dramatically increases the risk of causing a severe car accident.  Operating a dangerous vehicle—a vehicle with bad brakes or without working brake lights or headlights is not fit to travel on a roadway. Taking a vehicle in this condition on the roadway increases the risk of accident and endangers other drivers’ lives.  Without clearly defined conduct guiding a reckless driving conviction in Virginia, many undefined forms of behavior satisfying the definition of reckless driving may result in a conviction. For this reason, it’s essential to speak to an experienced attorney promptly to fight accusations in court and strengthen your defense.  Will I Go to Jail for Reckless Driving?  Reckless driving in Virginia qualified as a criminal class one misdemeanor offense. For this reason, the law hands down harsh consequences for a reckless driving charge in Virginia.  For example, a conviction for reckless driving may not be expunged and remains on your DMV record for 11 years. Additionally, a reckless driving conviction may result in some or all of the following consequences:  Maximum of a year in jail, Maximum $2,500 fine, Potential license suspension for up to 6 months,  Increase in auto insurance,  Inability to rent cars,  Six points on your driving record, and A criminal record.  Additionally, a court appearance may also be required. A reckless driving charge in Virginia constitutes a life-changing event. For that reason, retain an attorney to assist in fighting on your behalf for a dismissal or reduction of your charges.  Contact a Virginia Reckless Driving Attorney today  A charge of reckless driving in Virginia is not merely a traffic infraction. No one wants to wonder if they will go to jail for reckless driving. Therefore, acting quickly to seek out the assistance of a qualified attorney may make a difference in the outcome of your case.  At Andrew Flusche, I provide clients with decades of experience focused on traffic and misdemeanor cases. Through this intentional focus, I can help you navigate the best path forward. I am dedicated to your flexibility, and I can handle much of your case via phone and email to limit interruptions to your life. Contact me today to discuss your reckless driving charge.

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Reckless Driving

What Is a Wet Reckless in Virginia?

If charged with a DUI or DWI in Virginia, it may be possible to reach an agreement by pleading a lesser charge of a wet reckless driving. Although consequences of a wet reckless driving charge may mirror the consequences of a DUI or DWI conviction, multiple benefits exist to seeking a plea of wet reckless driving. What Is a Wet Reckless?  A wet reckless driving charge applies in situations where individuals drive recklessly while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A common situation where the prosecutor may offer a wet reckless plea is where your blood alcohol level (BAC) was only slightly above the legal limit of .08%. Virginia laws do not statutorily define wet and reckless driving. However, people charged with reckless driving where alcohol or drugs are involved may plead to a wet reckless driving charge to reduce a DUI conviction’s devastating impact. What Is the Difference Between a Wet Reckless and a DUI? There are several benefits to a wet reckless driving charge compared to a DUI in Virginia. Typically most wet reckless driving charges result in the following: Shorter jail sentence; Reduced penalty; No requirement to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle; Possibly no suspension of driver license; and Fewer attendance hours required in the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASAP).  For this reason, many people charged with DUI often seek out the possibility of reducing their charge to a wet reckless. A DUI charge stays on your criminal and DMV record. However, a wet reckless charge does not.  All parties who plead guilty to a wet and reckless driving charge work with the prosecuting attorney to determine the terms of your guilty plea. Pleading a wet and reckless driving charge may only be available for first-time offenders. Whether to permit a wet reckless driving plea is strictly within the discretion of the prosecuting attorney. Therefore, even if you are a first-time offender, there are no guarantees that this option exists for you. Many Virginia jurisdictions no longer permit wet reckless driving pleas. Therefore, it’s essential to speak with a qualified traffic and misdemeanor lawyer to discuss whether it may be an option.  In situations where there is difficulty proving blood alcohol levels with certainty, many may seek to reduce their DUI charge to a wet reckless driving charge. Contact Us  At Andrew Flusche, Attorney at Law, PLC, I vigorously defend traffic and misdemeanor cases for clients in Fredericksburg and surrounding areas. I work with all clients to understand their desired result. I will carefully review the facts of your case in determining how best to reach your goal. By limiting my practice to traffic and misdemeanor issues, I have developed and maintained professional relationships with officers and prosecutors in local courts. These relationships serve as a benefit in navigating the best path forward for clients. I am happy to work with you based on your convenience. In many cases, I can handle your case through discussions over the phone and email. Additionally, you may never even need to enter a courtroom. Contact me today to discuss your case’s facts to determine the best option for you!

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DUI

Reckless Driving vs. DUI in Virginia

Reckless driving and driving under the influence, or DUI, are separate crimes in Virginia. Although the crimes are related in many respects, the Commonwealth could prosecute you for both crimes even if they arise from the same incident. DUI and reckless driving are severe crimes in Virginia. You need a tough, experienced, and trial-ready traffic crime defense lawyer if you face either charge. As a DUI defense lawyer in Virginia, I use my wealth of experience, in-depth knowledge, and skills to achieve the best result for you. DUI vs. Reckless Driving DUI and reckless driving are related charges. Police officers receive extensive training in identifying and investigating drunk drivers. Many DUI arrests happen because the driver operated a vehicle recklessly, carelessly, or improperly.  The Commonwealth can bring reckless driving charges against a driver even if there is no evidence of intoxication. However, the investigating officer could bring DUI charges in addition to reckless driving charges if the officer has evidence that the driver was drunk. Police officers will look for evidence of intoxication such as: The smell of alcohol from the car or on the driver; Open alcohol containers in the car; The driver has slow or slurred speech; The driver has bloodshot and glassy eyes; The driver has difficulty understanding instructions; The driver cannot produce a driver license or proof of insurance; The driver easily loses balance and has trouble walking; and The driver fails field sobriety tests. The officer could look for additional evidence such as portable breath test results to arrest you for DUI. Elements of DUI in Virginia Prosecutors have two theories they can use to convict a person of DUI in Virginia. A person is guilty of DUI in Virginia if they either: Operate a vehicle on a highway with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or greater; or Operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated.  A person can also be guilty of DUI for being under the influence of drugs – even prescription medications. Elements of Reckless Driving in Virginia Under Virginia law, reckless driving is driving a motor vehicle on a highway at a speed or in a manner that endangers others’ lives, limbs, or property. A person may be convicted of reckless driving without drinking and without causing an accident. There are about a dozen different varieties of reckless driving in Virginia. Penalties for Reckless Driving vs. DUI  Both reckless driving and DUI crimes are Class I misdemeanors. Class I misdemeanors in Virginia carry a possible one-year jail term, a fine up to $2,500, or both. However, DUI charges carry potentially stiffer penalties.  Under Virginia’s DUI law, a person convicted of DUI must pay a minimum fine of $250. Anyone who drives with a blood alcohol concentration between 0.15 and 0.20 must serve a minimum of five days in jail. Anyone with a blood alcohol concentration over 0.20 must serve 10 days in jail. Additionally, the driver’s license suspension is up to one year for a DUI conviction. Repeat offenses for DUI carry greater penalties. A conviction for reckless driving does not have minimum jail time or a minimum fine. The judge can suspend a driver’s license for reckless driving for up to six months. Using Virginia Law to Your Advantage As a defense attorney dedicated to DUI and traffic defense, I understand how to use Virginia law to your advantage. In some cases, we can work with the prosecutor to achieve a reduction of the punishments and even the charge itself. On other occasions, the best approach for you might be to fight the charges and present your case at trial. No matter what strategy you choose, I will be with you every step of the way.  Call me, Andrew Flusche, Virginia DUI defense lawyer, today at (540) 318-5824 to discuss the best defenses for your DUI vs. reckless driving charges.

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Reckless Driving

What Is The Difference Between Reckless Driving and Aggressive Driving?

Aggressive driving and reckless driving are hazardous because they place innocent lives at risk of severe injury or death. As a result, Virginia state law punishes both driving behaviors. The punishments for each crime vary and carry substantial collateral consequences. The terms reckless and aggressive are not interchangeable under Virginia law. If you have been charged in Virginia with reckless driving or aggressive driving, you need to understand your rights and the difference between the two crimes. As a traffic and DUI defense attorney in Virginia, I help people avoid the harsh consequences of making a driving mistake. I will use my vast knowledge and experience fighting for people just like you to help you stay out of jail, avoid large fines, reduce the risk of license suspension, and work to keep insurance costs down.  Reckless Driving vs. Aggressive Driving In Virginia Virginia law defines reckless driving and aggressive driving. Both crimes are misdemeanors. However, Virginia’s reckless driving statute indicates that a conviction for reckless driving is at least a Class I misdemeanor. A Class I misdemeanor in Virginia carries the possibility of no more than one year in jail and a $2,500 fine or both. Reckless driving could be a felony in certain circumstances. Reckless Driving Virginia law defines reckless driving as driving in any way that threatens another person’s life, limb, or property while committing any one of several listed traffic offenses. A person is guilty of reckless driving when:  Driving out of control or with faulty brakes; Passing another vehicle while at the top of a hill or on a curve; Operating the vehicle when the driver’s view is obstructed or control impaired; Passing two vehicles that are riding side-by-side; Driving on the side of another vehicle in a single traffic lane; Passing another vehicle at a railroad crossing or passing a school bus; Failing to signal correctly or to yield the right of way; Engaging in drag racing; Operating at an excessive speed for road or traffic conditions; or Driving over 85 miles per hour or at a speed 20 miles per hour faster than the posted speed limit. The listed behaviors are inherently dangerous. Therefore, police and prosecutors in Virginia can push for tough sentences. Aggressive Driving Virginia law defines aggressive driving as a Class 2 misdemeanor. However, driving aggressively with the intent to injure is a Class I misdemeanor. A Class 2 misdemeanor carries a maximum penalty of six months confinement in the county jail, a fine of $1,000, or both. A person is guilty of aggressive driving in Virginia if they become a hazard to another person with the intent to harass, injure, intimidate, obstruct, or annoy, while: Failing to drive on the right side of the road; Failing to remain within marked travel lanes; Following the vehicle in front too closely; Passing another vehicle at an unsafe distance; Shooting into traffic without first yielding the right of way; Refusing to yield to an overtaking vehicle; and Speeding. These offenses without the intent to harass, injure, annoy, or intimidate are merely traffic offenses, punishable by no more than a monetary fine. Get The Help You Need from an Experienced Virginia Traffic Lawyer The difference between reckless driving and aggressive driving is important to understand. I have learned from my years of representing people charged with driving offenses that having a full understanding of the charges you face helps you work with your lawyer to defend your case successfully. Contact me, Virginia traffic defense lawyer Andrew Flusche, today at (540) 318-5824 , and I will work to create the best defense strategy for you.

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Reckless Driving

How Does Reckless Driving Affect Insurance?

A reckless driving charge can result in serious criminal penalties, like fines and jail time. However, this charge can also impact your life in other ways. For instance, you might lose your job and your good reputation in the community. Also, you face ongoing financial consequences, like increases to your auto insurance rate. How Insurance Points Systems Work Some states have an insurance points system. This system assigns a point value for driving violations that corresponds to a set increase in insurance premium rates. Virginia does not have a system that works exactly like this. Virginia Demerit System Instead, Virginia issues demerit points when you get a driving violation. You will be on probation if you accrue twelve negative demerit points in a twelve-month period or twenty-four negative demerit points in eighteen months. While on six months of probation, if you are convicted of another demerit point violation, you will have your license suspended for up to ninety days. A reckless driving conviction is worth six demerit points, half of the total points that would put you on probation. Insurance Points System Besides Virginia’s state demerit system, insurance companies have a points system that determines your rate. Using this points system, some insurance companies determine insurance premium rates based on factors such as: Age of the driver, Length of time with the insurance policy, Driving record, Number of accidents in a year, Whether the reckless driver harmed a person or property, and Whether the reckless driving charge was because of speeding. Each negative factor on your account adds another point by which your premium is multiplied. If you have enough points, you might have to pay much higher rates. How Reckless Driving Impacts Your Insurance Rates So how does reckless driving affect insurance? When you are convicted of reckless driving, Virginia issues six demerit points that stay on your driving record for 11 years. Your insurance company issues you negative points that usually stay on your policy for three to five years.  Increased premium rates take effect when your policy renews, as insurance companies cannot raise your rates while you are in an existing policy term. However, if you change your policy, the insurance company can raise your rate at that time. For instance, by moving or adding another car or driver, you could face an immediate rate increase. Even though your insurance company cannot change your rate in the middle of your contract term, you should expect some premium increase when your policy renews. If your reckless driving conviction seems too severe to the insurance company, they can cancel your policy. Contact a Traffic Attorney for Help As you can see, the impacts of a reckless driving conviction reach far beyond the courtroom. While hefty fines and jail time are alarming enough, you also face a reckless driving insurance increase. However, you don’t have to accept these consequences without a fight. To effectively challenge your reckless driving charge, you need a skilled defense attorney. I, attorney Andrew Flusche, have been helping drivers get their charges reduced or dismissed for years. I aim to educate and empower drivers through efforts like my book on reckless driving. When you hire me, I promise to do everything I can to get your reckless driving charges reduced or dismissed. Call today for a free consultation.

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Reckless Driving

Understanding the Virginia Reckless Driving Code

Being charged with reckless driving happens more easily than you would think. According to the VA Code, reckless driving can result from merely exceeding the speed limit by a certain amount. Reckless driving can result from other infractions too.  Under the Code of Virginia, reckless driving brings serious penalties upon conviction. You need an attorney. A Virginia criminal defense attorney can investigate and fight for your rights with the goal of getting your reckless driving charge reduced or dismissed. What Is Reckless Driving in Virginia?  The Virginia Reckless Driving Code is the state statute that lists the reasons and penalties for a reckless driving charge. Code of Virginia § 46.2-862 defines reckless driving due to speeding. In Virginia, you commit reckless driving when you: Drive 20 mph or more over the speed limit, or Drive more than 85 mph. While speeding is usually the cause of a reckless driving charge, other actions can prompt this charge. Additional reasons in the Virginia Reckless Driving Code include:  Failure to stop or yield the right of way when entering a highway; Driving in a way that endangers the life, limb, or property of someone on public property or a highway under construction; or Racing on highways or public property. As you can see, it can be easy to make a mistake on the highway that results in a charge for reckless driving under VA Code. You can learn from your mistake, but I don’t want it to impact your life permanently. That’s why I fight for drivers’ rights as a criminal attorney in Virginia. What Are the Penalties for Reckless Driving? In Virginia, reckless driving is a Class 1 Misdemeanor. For reckless driving, the Virginia Code imposes serious penalties, including the following: Six DMV points, A fine of up to $2,500, Up to 12 months in jail, and A license suspension of up to six months. These penalties outlined in the Virginia reckless driving statute can cause you to suffer emotionally and financially. A reckless driving conviction can negatively impact your family and career. You must take these charges seriously and hire a skilled attorney to fight for you. How Can an Attorney Help? A reckless driving conviction can negatively impact your life, leaving you with a permanent criminal record, higher insurance premiums, and difficulty finding a job. You need an attorney who will advocate for your interests by doing the following: Finding out what happened to cause your reckless driving charge, Requesting your driving record and evaluating prior offenses, Finding out if the officer has the evidence to prove the case,  Investigating whether the officer’s radar equipment was calibrated and accurate, and Working with the prosecutor to dismiss or reduce your charges. Even when I can’t get your case thrown out, I work with the prosecutor and/or officer to propose solutions for reducing your charges. For instance, the prosecutor might agree to a reduced charge in exchange for you going to driving school or performing community service. My goal is to keep a Virginia Code reckless driving charge off your record so that it doesn’t negatively impact your life. Contact me, attorney Andrew Flusche, today to get started on your reckless driving defense. I authored a book on defending against reckless driving charges and have helped hundreds of clients fight their reckless driving cases. We can discuss strategies for your defense if you call me for a free consultation.

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