If you are stopped by the police and charged with reckless driving in Virginia, you are not placed in handcuffs and booked at the police station. Instead, the officer would have you sign a summons, which looks like a traffic ticket, where you promise to attend your court hearings and release you. While this is much better than going to jail until you can post bond, you face serious consequences if you miss your court hearing.
Penalties You Face If You Miss Your Reckless Driving Court Hearing
The ramifications of missing a court hearing if you are charged with reckless driving are much more severe than if you did not attend a hearing for a traffic infraction, such as speeding. This is because reckless driving is a Class 1 misdemeanor offense. If you miss your court hearing, the judge will take the following actions against you:
- Charge you with failure to appear, which is a misdemeanor offense in Virginia
- Issue a show cause warrant
When the judge issues a show cause warrant, you are required to attend another court hearing to explain why you missed your court hearing. When a warrant for your arrest is issued, the police could arrest you at any time. The magistrate may allow you to post bond to be released from jail, but there is no guarantee that this will happen.
If you are charged with failure to appear, you are facing an additional misdemeanor offense in addition to the reckless driving crime you were originally arrested for committing. You could face these penalties if you are convicted:
- Jail sentence of up to one year
- Fine not to exceed $2,500
What You Need to Do If You Missed Your Court Hearing
You should retain an experienced reckless driving lawyer as soon as you realize you missed your scheduled court hearing. A lawyer can take steps to avoid you being charged with another offense and represent you at a show cause hearing.
Your attorney can also mount a strong defense to the reckless driving charges you face so that they are dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense. To learn how The Wilson Law Firm can help you, call our office or fill out our convenient online form to schedule your free consultation today.