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. 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 drivers 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? Call for Help Before Going to Court 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 clients’ 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

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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Going to Court

What Happens If I Miss My Court Date for a Misdemeanor?

Judges expect you to go to court even for misdemeanor charges.  Judges rarely excuse missed court dates. Showing up to court late or missing the court date altogether, could lead to severe consequences for you. If you missed court, you might be asking, What happens if I miss my court date for a misdemeanor? As an experienced Virginia criminal defense attorney, I understand that missing a court date for a misdemeanor is rarely intentional. Still, you cannot ignore the obligation to return to court and clear the warrant. I can help you avoid the consequences if you contact me as soon as possible after you missed a court date for a misdemeanor.  What Are Bench Warrants? Judges in Virginia issue bench warrants to apprehend people who failed to appear in court. A bench warrant allows police officers to arrest you and bring you into court.  Police can arrest you at any time they locate you. All the police have to do is run your information, such as a license plate, to find out if you have a warrant. A police officer could arrest you for a bench warrant at a traffic stop or a car accident, even if you were blameless in that incident.  Potential Consequences of a Missed Court Date for a Misdemeanor Each case’s particular circumstances will dictate what happens if you miss a court date for a misdemeanor. Virginia law allows the prosecutor to bring out a charge for failure to appear. Missing a court date for a misdemeanor is a Class I misdemeanor. Similarly, missing a court date for a felony is a Class 6 felony.  A person convicted of a Class I misdemeanor faces one year in jail. The judge could impose a fine of no more than $2,500. Additionally, the judge could run the sentence on the charge of failure to appear consecutively with the sentences for other crimes. A charge of failure to appear survives even if the court dismisses the charges that brought you to court. The court could hold you in contempt as an alternative to issuing a new criminal charge. The penalty for contempt is a ten-day jail sentence and a $250 fine.  Failing to appear in court might trigger a security forfeiture hearing. The court can order you to forfeit the bond posted unless you have a good excuse or the court finds that forfeiting your security would be unjust. What to Do If You Missed Your Court Date Acting swiftly and taking responsibility for missing a court date could help you avoid the severe consequences of failing to appear. Judges tend to look more favorably upon someone who takes responsibility for their actions instead of coming up with excuses.  Do not wait to find out what happens when you miss your court date. You should contact my office immediately to prepare to remove a bench warrant or answer to a contempt charge.  Should I Get Help from an Attorney? Walking into court alone or waiting until you get arrested could make matters worse for you. The judge could detain you or set a higher bond than previously posted if you go to court without a lawyer by your side.  Waiting until you get picked up is highly problematic. You have a lesser chance of successfully arguing against a failure to appear charge if you wait.  I can help you gather evidence that shows the judge you made an honest mistake or were incapacitated and could not come to court. I will argue forcefully to prove to the judge that you respect the court’s authority and understand how important it is not to miss court. Call Me Right Now to Discuss What Happens If You Miss Your Court Date for a Misdemeanor Contact my office 24/7 to ask questions about what happens if you miss a court date for a misdemeanor. I limit my practice to misdemeanors and traffic defense so I can help you achieve a favorable result. Call me, Andrew Flusche, attorney at law, today at 540-300-6982 to get the help you need.

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