Improper driving is a somewhat unique charge under Virginia law. You can't be charged with improper driving by a law enforcement officer, but the judge and prosecutor both have the authority to reduce reckless driving to improper driving when they find your degree of culpability is slight.
Benefits of Reducing a Reckless Driving Charge to Improper Driving
Having your reckless driving charge reduced to improper driving can be a significant benefit. Improper driving is considered a low-level traffic ticket worth three demerit points on your driving record for three years. In comparison, reckless driving is typically a Class 1 misdemeanor worth six demerit points that stay on your driving record for 11 years.
Likelihood of an Improper Driving Charge
An improper driving charge is most likely when your actions were caused by carelessness or inattentiveness at a crucial moment. For example, if you rear ended another vehicle but were not speeding or disobeying any other traffic laws, you'd have a good shot at getting a reckless driving charge reduced to improper driving.
If you were charged with reckless driving by speed, it's more likely that your charge would be reduced to a speeding ticket. Although a speeding ticket is worth four demerit points and stays on your record for five years, having your offense reduced to a speeding ticket will likely benefit you in the long run.
The Benefits of Hiring a Reckless Driving Attorney
Being convicted of reckless driving can result in hefty fines, jail time, and the stigma of a criminal record. Hiring an experienced reckless driving attorney to investigate every avenue of defense will give you an opportunity to have the charge reduced to a lesser offense or dropped altogether. If you simply pay the ticket and accept the consequences, you'll be faced with higher insurance rates and reduced employment opportunities for several years to come.
T. Kevin Wilson is dedicated helping Virginia drivers deal with their reckless driving tickets in a way that minimizes the associated penalties. Call today to schedule a free, no-obligation initial case review.