Reckless driving is a serious misdemeanor offense in Virginia. If you are convicted of this crime, you could be sentenced to a lengthy jail sentence and have a permanent criminal record.
You need to mount a strong defense strategy to avoid the consequences you face. You will most likely have to decide whether to accept a plea bargain at some point in your criminal case. Here are the pros and cons of entering into a plea agreement that you should consider when making this important decision.
Benefits of Entering Into a Plea Agreement
A plea bargain is an agreement between the prosecutor and defendant where the defendant agrees to plead guilty in exchange for a benefit given by the prosecutor. Many cases, including reckless driving cases, are resolved through a plea bargain.
Prosecutors and judges like plea agreements because they reduce their heavy caseloads and results in quicker resolutions of their cases. Here are the benefits of a plea agreement:
- Reduced charges or sentence. The prosecutor could agree to reduce your charges to a less serious misdemeanor offense or traffic infraction to reduce your punishment in exchange for your guilty plea.
- Fewer costs. You will pay more attorney fees and trial preparation costs if you decide to take your case to a jury trial. One practical benefit of entering into a plea bargain is that you would save money.
- Certainty. Another big advantage of entering into a plea agreement is that you will have much more certainty of the outcome of your reckless driving case. Even if you are innocent or have strong defenses to the charges you face, there is no guarantee that you would be found not guilty at a trial.
Drawbacks of a Plea Bargain
There are also cons to agreeing to plead guilty to reckless driving. Here are a few that you should consider:
- Loss of rights. You would be giving up your right to present your defenses and to have your case decided at a jury trial. If you are innocent or have strong defenses that could result in the charges being dismissed, it can be hard to agree to plead guilty.
- Sentence. If you plead guilty to a reduced offense or a traffic infraction, you would face a punishment, such as a jail sentence and fine.
- Criminal record. You could have a permanent criminal record if you plead guilty to another misdemeanor offense. This can affect your ability to obtain employment, loans, education, and more.
If you have been charged with reckless driving in Virginia, you should not agree to a plea bargain without first consulting with an experienced reckless driving lawyer. To learn how our skilled attorneys can help you, call our Manassas office or start a live chat to schedule a free initial consultation today.