If you've been charged with reckless driving, you may be wondering how your court appearance will be handled and what happens if the arresting officer doesn't show up. Although many people think having the officer fail to appear in court will get your ticket thrown out, this is seldom the case.
The Arresting Officer's Court Appearance
In Virginia, most courts give an officer one assigned day per month when all of his cases will be handled. This makes it much easier for the officer to avoid missing a court date, but sometimes absences are unavoidable. Officers may be sick, have a death in the family, or be busy tending to some sort of public safety emergency situation. When this happens, the court will generally continue your reckless driving case until the next month so the officer will be able to present the necessary evidence.
The only way your case would be dismissed is if the officer doesn't show, doesn't call in with a valid excuse, and doesn't respond to the court's attempts to schedule a new appearance. However, this is very rare. Police officers recognize that court appearances are an important part of their job and that failure to appear in court can result in disciplinary action.
Building a Solid Defense
Reckless driving carries significant penalties, including stiff fines, the possibility of jail time, and the stigma of a criminal record. Since it's unlikely that your case will be dismissed due to the arresting officer's failure to appear in court, your best option is to work with a skilled attorney to build a solid defense.
There are a number of different strategies that can work to reduce or drop a reckless driving charge, such as having your speedometer calibrated, attending a driver improvement clinic, or voluntarily completing community service to demonstrate remorse for your actions. An experienced attorney can help you decide which strategy will work best for your particular circumstances.
T. Kevin Wilson has extensive experience helping Virginia residents handle both misdemeanor and felony reckless driving charges. Call today to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation.