Reckless driving is a serious misdemeanor offense in Virginia that carries harsh penalties and can have long-term consequences on your life if convicted. However, you may have strong defenses that can help you fight the charges you face—even if you are guilty.

What Is Reckless Driving in Virginia?

There are approximately 16 different offenses that fall under the crime of reckless driving. Many charges involve speeding. Common violations include:

  • Virginia Code §18.2-852: Driving in a manner that endangers others, regardless of speed.
  • Virginia Code §18.2-853: Failing to maintain control of a motor vehicle or operating one that has improperly adjusted brakes.
  • Virginia Code §18.2-862: Driving at 20 mph or more in excess of the posted speed limit or driving in excess of 85 mph regardless of what the speed limit is.

Defense Strategies That Can Help You Beat a Reckless Driving Charge

Frustrated Driver After Reckless Driving ChargesThe defenses that would work in your case would depend on the particular facts surrounding your arrest. You need the assistance of an experienced reckless driving attorney to determine the legal defenses you should pursue. Here are some common defenses that can result in the charges against you being dismissed or reduced to a lesser offense:

  • Validity of the stop. The police must have reasonable suspicion that you committed a traffic or other violation to stop you. They must also follow certain rules when pulling you over. If they did not have a good reason to stop you or violated the procedures they had to follow, you may be able to get the charges dismissed.
  • Not the driver. The prosecutor must prove that you were the driver who drove recklessly. If you were a passenger in the vehicle or the victim of mistaken identity, this could be a useful defense to fight the charges.
  • Accuracy of the radar reading. The prosecutor must establish that the radar or LIDAR used to check your speed was properly calibrated and that the officer had the proper certification. The radar or LIDAR also must have been used properly. If you can challenge the calibration, certification, or use of the radar or LIDAR, you may have a strong defense strategy.
  • Your speedometer. You may want to get your own speedometer calibrated. If it was improperly calibrated, you may be able to argue that you thought that you were driving safely.
  • Necessity. If you were speeding because of a medical emergency, you may be able to use the necessity defense. However, you would need strong facts to support your defense.
  • GPS. Your GPS may help you establish that you were driving at a lower speed limit than the officer claimed when they charged you with reckless driving. You would need the GPS reading at the time of your arrest and proof that it was accurate for this defense to be effective.

Were you charged with reckless driving in Virginia? Our knowledgeable reckless driving legal team can mount an aggressive defense strategy for you. Start a live chat to schedule your free consultation to learn how we can assist you.


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