If you are pulled over by the police and are charged with reckless driving in Virginia, you may mistakenly think that you are receiving a traffic ticket. However, you are being charged with a serious misdemeanor offense that will have long-term consequences in your life long after you complete your sentence.
You would be making a mistake if you just plead guilty and accept your punishment. You will have a much better outcome in your case if you hire an experienced reckless driving attorney.
Penalties in Reckless Driving Cases
While many charges of reckless driving are associated with speeding, there are many other offenses that constitute reckless driving. Driving your vehicle in a reckless manner, driving too fast for weather conditions, operating your car with faulty brakes, and failing to yield the right away are just a few of the reasons you could be arrested for reckless driving.
Reckless driving is a Class 1 misdemeanor—the most serious misdemeanor offense in Virginia. You could face harsh penalties if you are convicted, which include:
- Jail sentence of up to 12 months
- Fine of up to $2,500
- Suspension of your driver’s license for six months
- Six demerit points on your driving record
In addition, you would have a permanent criminal record. This could affect your ability to obtain employment, education, housing, and more.
Seven Ways a Lawyer Can Help You
Given the harsh consequences you face, you should take your charges seriously. How hiring an attorney could help you will depend on your specific situation and criminal history. However, here are reasons why you should hire a lawyer:
- Understand the laws. A skilled reckless driving lawyer who handles many of these cases as part of their practice will understand the laws that apply to your case and the court procedure you must follow in your criminal case. They can use this knowledge to get the charges against you dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense.
- Develop your defenses. Even if you are guilty of reckless driving, you could have strong defenses that can help you fight the charges. For example, if the police did not have reasonable cause to stop you, the charges could be dismissed. A lawyer will know what defenses could work in your case and can mount a strong defense strategy for you.
- Explain your options. You need to understand all your options before deciding whether to take your case to trial or negotiate a plea bargain. Your lawyer can explain what choices you have and the ramifications of each one to you.
- Collect evidence. When you raise defenses, you will need to collect evidence that supports your claims. An attorney will know what evidence you need and collect it for you. In addition, they would have a network of expert witnesses that you could hire if this is necessary to support your defense.
- Represent you in court. Your attorney can represent you at your court hearings. They may be able to attend some of your hearings without you needing to be present.
- Negotiate a plea bargain. If it is in your best interests, a lawyer can negotiate a plea bargain in your case. If an attorney represents you, you will be much more likely to obtain a favorable plea agreement with the prosecutor.
- Save money and time. Even though you will have to pay an attorney to represent, you could save money if they are able to get the charges dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense. In addition, you would save the time of going to a number of court hearings and missing work if you hire a lawyer.
Were you charged with reckless driving in Virginia? Our dedicated reckless driving legal team understands the seriousness of being charged with this crime and how a conviction can negatively impact your life. We have decades of experience helping clients aggressively fight these charges. To learn how we can assist you in achieving the best possible outcome in your case, call our Manassas office or fill out our online form to schedule your free initial consultation today.