If the judge returns a guilty verdict in your reckless driving case, don't panic. Virginia law allows you to appeal the outcome of your reckless driving case and be granted a new trial with a different judge. In many cases, an appeal results in an acquittal or reduced charges.
How Does an Appeal Work?
You have 10 calendar days to initiate the appeal process. You can do this by informing the General District Court clerk that you want to appeal your conviction. At this time, you'll be asked to complete and sign a Notice of Appeal form.
Your second reckless driving trial will proceed in the same basic manner as the first trial. The only key difference is that you're allowed to request a jury trial on appeal. However, the benefits of this option should be considered carefully since you'll need to pay the court costs for a jury trial if you're convicted.
Is an Appeal Worth My Time?
Appealing your reckless driving conviction costs time and money, so this is a decision that shouldn't be made lightly. The biggest reason to appeal your conviction is that judges have a fair amount of discretion in trying reckless driving cases. If you had a judge who is notoriously strict or your case involved mitigating factors such as a medical emergency, appealing might very well result in an acquittal.
You should also appeal your conviction if you didn't hire a lawyer or if you're not confident your previous lawyer represented you to the best of his ability. Having access to skilled legal representation is vital in beating a reckless driving charge.
Virginia defense attorney T. Kevin Wilson is committed to helping drivers handle both misdemeanor and felony reckless driving charges. He works with each client to develop a defense most appropriate to the circumstances. He may recommend options such as speedometer calibration, completion of a driver improvement clinic, or using community service to have the charge dropped. Please call today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.