Did you get a ticket for reckless driving and are wondering if you need a Stafford reckless driving lawyer?
Virginia has some of the toughest traffic laws in the country. Most traffic violations are simple infractions.
However, reckless driving is a criminal misdemeanor. Stafford County reckless driving charges can have real consequences, just like other criminal charges.
It is important that you take steps to protect your rights.
I am Andrew Flusche, an experienced reckless driving lawyer. I have helped many clients get their reckless driving charges reduced or dismissed. I can represent you in court and will work hard to provide a strong defense.
Stafford County Reckless Driving: Potential Penalties
Lots of traffic violations can be considered reckless driving under Virginia law, including:
- Driving faster than 80 miles per hour,
- Driving more than 20 miles per hour above the posted speed limit,
- Driving unreasonably fast for the current driving conditions,
- Driving with inadequate brakes,
- Illegal passing,
- Failure to yield,
- Driving with items in your car that block your view,
- Failure to signal,
- Racing, and
- Driving in any other manner that endangers people or property.
In Virginia, reckless driving is usually a Class 1 misdemeanor. Penalties include:
- Up to 12 months in jail, or
- Up to a $2,500 fine, or
Some violations may also be subject to additional penalties. For example, if your reckless driving is based on racing, you will face a license suspension of six months to two years. If the court finds that you committed reckless driving while using a phone or other device in violation of Virginia law, your penalty will include a mandatory $250 fine.
It is also possible for reckless driving to be charged as a Class 6 felony if:
- The reckless driving occurred while the driver’s license was suspended or revoked because of a moving violation; and
- The reckless driving caused someone’s death.
If you are convicted of a Class 6 felony, the court may sentence you to one to five years in prison.
Apart from the criminal penalties, there are additional consequences of reckless driving, such as:
- Increases in your insurance premiums;
- 6 negative points on your Virginia driver license;
- Employment issues, such as job loss or security clearance problems;
- Denial of your application to drive for Uber/Lyft; and
- Having a permanent criminal record.
Often, reckless driving charges may be reduced to infractions. Infractions do not carry a risk of jail time, and they do not go on your criminal record. They also count for fewer negative points on your driver license. An experienced Stafford reckless driving lawyer can help you fight for a reduction or even dismissal of your criminal reckless driving charge.
Defenses to Avoid
There’s a reason most people don’t try to defend themselves against criminal charges without a lawyer. Attorneys tend to work on the same types of cases day in and day out. They are familiar with local judges, prosecutors, and officers. They know the law and the range of possible defenses for your charge. They have seen which strategies work and which don’t.
You may think you have a great defense on your own, but there are some things that just won’t help you in court.
Claiming That Other Drivers Were Speeding
This defense didn’t work when you got caught misbehaving in grade school, and it won’t work in court either. The court only cares about whether you were following the law.
Attacking the Police Officer
Although officers can certainly make mistakes, most of the time they are just doing their job to the best of their ability. Your lawyer will help you examine the evidence to make sure the officer’s equipment was functioning properly. However, trying to claim that the officer lied or was out to get you typically won’t impress the judge.
Claiming You Didn’t Know the Speed Limit
Drivers are responsible to know the speed limit on the roads where they drive. If the speed is posted, the court will assume you had notice of it. It doesn’t matter whether you actually saw the sign, misread it, or were otherwise ignorant of the speed limit.
Arguing About the Wrong Facts
I routinely see people plead not guilty and then argue that they were not going as fast as the officer claimed. But then they admit that they were still going over 80 mph, just not the alleged speed. Admitting to the crime is never a good defense.
To effectively defend against reckless driving in Virginia, you need someone who understands the intricacies of the law. I have spent years defending Stafford County drivers against reckless driving charges, and I can help you too.
Information About the Stafford County Court
Stafford County traffic cases are heard in the Stafford General District Court. Traffic court judges in Stafford can be a bit tough, and they have a lot of discretion, especially when it comes to sentencing.
Having a local Stafford County attorney on your side can be invaluable. I help Stafford County reckless driving defendants almost every day, and I know the local landscape. I can help you build a strong defense, negotiate with the police and prosecutor, and present your case to the judge.
Why It’s Important to Hire a Local Stafford Reckless Driving Lawyer Like Me
If you have been charged with reckless driving, this is not something you want to face alone. The long-term consequences of a reckless driving conviction can be serious and impact you for many years to come.
My practice focuses on reckless driving cases and other vehicle violations. I offer a free consultation where you can tell me the facts of your case and we can talk about your options. If you decide to hire me, I charge a flat fee for my services so you can know exactly what to expect. If you are facing a reckless driving charge in Stafford County, give me a call or contact me online today.