Do I Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer?
If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime in the past, having an experienced reckless driving lawyer Fairfax VA locals recommend on your side is extremely important. This is especially true in cases that involve felony accusations. However, even for misdemeanors, defendants are often best served by having a professional lawyer represent them in court — rather than trying to represent themselves. While you are not legally required to have a reckless driving lawyer in Fairfax VA represent you, there are several reasons why you may benefit from doing so.
The Complexity of the Criminal Justice System
No matter how smart you are, the legal system makes it very difficult to represent yourself effectively in court. Even individuals with law degrees typically choose to hire other lawyers when they are facing criminal charges, simply because another lawyer may have the time and the resources to analyze the case in greater detail. Each case involves numerous variables that could affect the outcome, and someone who is involved in the case as a defendant might not be able to identify and assess these variables accurately. A reckless driving lawyer Fairfax VA community members choose to protect their rights can make all the difference in the outcome.
What Can a Lawyer Do For a Defendant?
1. Negotiate plea deals or negotiate for lesser charges: In some cases, the prosecution may be willing to negotiate a plea deal. Negotiating a plea deal can be a lengthy and complex process; it’s not something that you’d want to handle on your own. Furthermore, lawyers may have personal and professional connections with local prosecutors, which could make the prosecution more willing to engage in negotiations.
2. Utilize knowledge of local court procedures and customs: Even though criminal litigation is broadly the same across the country, each state has its own laws. Many counties and cities even have additional laws that differ from federal and state legislation. All of this can greatly affect how a case proceeds in court. An attorney with extensive knowledge of local court procedures can be invaluable during a criminal proceeding, no matter how minor the charges may be.
3. Gather evidence and information from witnesses: This part of a criminal defense case can be very demanding. Quite simply, if you are facing charges yourself then you likely don’t have the time, energy, or contacts to collect all of this information. A lawyer may be more capable of collecting evidence related to your case and then determining which evidence is most important.
4. Work with investigators and other industry professionals: In criminal defense cases, it may be beneficial for the defense to hire independent investigators to look into the evidence. Lawyers tend to form relationships with professionals in specific industries who may provide useful information in these types of cases. These professionals might also act as “expert witnesses” to shed light on difficult issues in complex court cases.
An Overview of reckless driving in Virginia from a reckless driving Lawyer Fairfax, VA
Take it from a reckless driving lawyer Fairfax, VA provides – Virginia’s reckless driving laws are tough! The reckless driving laws often focus on fast or dangerous driving. They are not merely a simple traffic infractions in Virginia. Reckless driving is a crime that is classified as a Class 1 misdemeanor. Other Class 1 misdemeanors in Virginia include crimes such as DWI, assault and battery, and petty larceny.
Note: Our lawyers practice in Fairfax, and all other counties of Virginia. We have offices in Fairfax, Arlington, and Staunton. We reference Fairfax, VA in this article because it is the largest jurisdiction in Virginia and with the most rigid procedures. Work done to Fairfax standards meets or exceeds the standards in every other jurisdiction in the Commonwealth, so it is common to use it as a benchmark.
Retaining a reckless driving lawyer Fairfax, Va is a good idea because the maximum penalty for a Class 1 misdemeanor is up to 12 months in jail and fines up to $2,500. In addition, the court can suspend one’s driver’s license for up to six months. Don’t panic, though. Rarely do people get jail for most cases of reckless driving. The larger concern is the criminal record for one who has a clean criminal record and wants to maintain that status.
If you receive a citation for reckless driving in Virginia, in most cases you will be required to appear in court. There is no option of prepayment of fines by mail, so you must appear in court. However, in certain jurisdictions, if you retain a reckless driving lawyer, there are limited circumstances when a reckless driving lawyer Fairfax VA drivers rely on might be able to appear in court on your behalf.
The most common form of reckless driving is recklessness by high speed.
Virginia Code §46.2-862 says that a person is guilty of reckless driving if he or she (1) exceeds the speed limit by twenty miles per hour or more or, (2) exceeds 80 miles per hour regardless of the speed limit. Under this law, recklessness is defined by speed alone. Some Judges have an unwritten rule that, even for people with great driving records, the punishment is one day in jail for every mile per hour over 90, and will suspend licenses for driving over 80 mph. Whether you were in control of the vehicle and operating in an otherwise safe manner is not defense. A reckless driving lawyer Fairfax, VA is needed so that you know what judges to avoid with certain arguments or, if you can’t avoid them, what you can do to convince them to make an exception to the rule.
Another commonly alleged form of reckless driving involves traffic accidents. Virginia Code § 46.2-853 says that one is guilty of reckless driving by driving a vehicle under improper control. Police officers often make this allegation at the accident scene merely because there has been a collision, despite limited or even no evidence that a crime has been committed. In many instances, a traffic accident is not the result of any criminal behavior whatsoever. For example, an experienced reckless driving lawyer Fairfax, VA will argue that well established Virginia case law states that the mere happening of an accident does not on its own prove reckless driving.
A third common form of reckless driving falls under Virginia Code §46.2-852. This is commonly referred to as “general” reckless driving. This is driving in any manner that endangers life, limb, or property of any person. That is a subjective standard employed by the charging police officer. The ultimate question of whether certain driving behavior rises to that threshold is one for which a reckless driving lawyer Fairfax, VA can be invaluable.
A reckless driving lawyer Fairfax, VA can assess the evidence against you, identify potential defenses, and present those issues to a Prosecutor in plea negotiations or in a trial before a judge in the General District Court. This would include the presentation of mitigation to the court. That could include information about the circumstances of the allegation and information about you that might serve to lessen any punishment. For example, if you have a good past driving record, have taken a driver safety course, issues with your vehicle, etc. By the way, there are good safe driving courses and there are bad ones. A good reckless driving lawyer Fairfax, VA will be able to direct you to the best classes.
In Virginia, the local prosecutor is called a Commonwealth’s Attorney. In most jurisdictions in Virginia, there is also an opportunity to negotiate, or “plea bargain” with the prosecutor. That would include consideration of alternative lesser charges. For example, an experienced reckless driving lawyer Fairfax, VA can help lower your reckless driving crime charge to a mere traffic infraction such as speeding 19 mph over, or even Improper Driving, which is the most minor moving violation that exists in the Code. One important thing to note is that in many jurisdictions, the Commonwealth’s Attorney will only speak to a reckless driving lawyer Fairfax, Va. As a Defendant in these jurisdictions, you can’t even talk to the Prosecutor, so you have no ability to get a plea bargain to a lesser charge.
If you have been convicted of reckless driving, or any offense in the General District Court, one has 10 days during which he or she may elect to appeal the result. In Virginia, one is guaranteed a new trial under that circumstance. An appeal will be heard in higher court called the Circuit Court. At that stage, you even have the right to have your case heard by a jury of your peers. A reckless driving lawyer Fairfax, VA would serve much the same role at the appeal stage, but be advised that the Circuit Court has a different set of rules and procedures than the General District Court.
When considering a reckless driving lawyer Fairfax, VA, keep in mind what you have at stake. A reckless driving conviction is a criminal conviction that can have future repercussions in matters like school and job applications, or security clearance evaluations. The Department of Motor Vehicles, whether in Virginia or elsewhere, can impose demerit points for a reckless driving conviction that can be the basis of license revocation regardless of the judgement of any local court. Of course, a conviction can impact insurance rates for years.
A reckless driving ticket brings the risk of a criminal conviction and all that goes along with it –fines, potential license suspension, and even jail in some cases. A reckless driving lawyer Fairfax, VA will work to keep your driving record free from a criminal conviction, will work to protect your liberty that can be compromised by a jail sentence, will work to protect the freedom that comes with your driver’s license, and will work to protect your wallet by mitigating the impact of fines and insurance rate increases. A reckless driving lawyer Fairfax VA motorists turn to can protect your rights.
What qualifies as reckless driving?
Reckless driving is a serious offense that should not be taken lightly, as a reckless driving lawyer Fairfax, VA clients depend on is familiar with. It refers to driving in a dangerous and negligent manner that endangers the lives of others around you. Excessive speeding, swerving between lanes, and making unsafe, improper turns all fall under reckless driving. Even if you did not intentionally mean to drive recklessly, you can still be charged with it. A police officer often uses tools like a speedometer or dash-cam footage to support the reckless driving charge. If you have been charged with reckless driving, be sure to consult with a lawyer so they can review your case.
What can I expect from my case?
There are a number of key things to know if you are involved in a reckless driving case. Whether or not it was your first offense or have had multiple convictions, you can face serious consequences if you are convicted of reckless driving. There are a number of types of reckless driving violations, so the consequences you will be facing will depend on the charge. However, there is a possibility that you can have your charge changed or dismissed. If you hope to obtain the best possible results from your case, contact a lawyer who can provide you with quality legal services and help you explore your case options.
Can I have my charge reduced?
It is possible to have your reckless driving charge reduced. It also depends on what kind of violation you committed, as there are more than ten types of reckless driving charges in Virginia. Your charge can be reduced from a misdemeanor to an infraction. Attempting to have your charge reduced alone is not recommended. Hiring a lawyer who has had prior experience representing clients in similar situations can greatly boost your chances of success. They understand how to assess the evidence and present your case so that you can have your reckless driving charge modified and face less severe consequences.
What consequences can I face if I’m convicted?
There are several serious consequences that you can face if you are convicted of reckless driving. Consequences can include fines, suspension or permanent loss of your license, seizure of your vehicle, and jail time. Depending on the circumstances and nature of your driving, you could also face harsher consequences. As a Fairfax reckless driving lawyer can tell you for example, street racing immediately results in harsher consequences, such as the loss of your license and permanent seizure of your vehicle. Even if you are convicted of an infraction, you may still have to pay a large fine. The more convictions that you have, the more severe your consequences will be.
How can a lawyer defend me?
Before determining what strategies to use for your case, a reckless driving lawyer will review the evidence against you. They will see if the evidence is strong enough. To build your case, an experienced lawyer will look for any weaknesses in the charge against you. For example, they might see if the police officer did not do the proper procedures, or they do not have sufficient evidence to charge you with reckless driving. Contact a Fairfax reckless driving lawyer who can explain your rights and advise you on what you should do so that you can avoid making the wrong decisions to harm your case.
A Fairfax VA Reckless Driving Lawyer You Can Trust
Regardless of what accusation you are facing — and even if you’re not sure whether or not you may be facing an accusation in the future — you are protected by the law in a number of ways. Hiring a reckless driving lawyer Fairfax VA offers is one of these essential legal protections– call us today to find out how we can help you.
Is a Police Officer’s radar or laser infallible in court in a Reckless Driving / Speeding case?
By the end of this article, the answer is “Without expert testimony, the radar or laser cannot be defeated in Court,” but a week ago, the answer was “Yes.” What changed?
First, let me describe the current law on speeding in Virginia. As any experienced Reckless Driving lawyer Fairfax County Virginia, will understand, there are really two types of speeding charges. First are the Traffic Infractions set forth in VA Code 46.2-870. Speeding 1 mph to 19 mph over the limit will normally be charged under this code section. These charges are not “crimes.” Rather, they are Traffic Infractions. Just “tickets” that nearly everyone gets over their life time. Speeding 1-9 over gives the driver a -3 DMV demerits on the Driving Record. Speeding 10-19 mph over results in -4 DMV demerit points. (Note: There are no -1 nor -2 offenses.) Speeding 20+ over results in -6 DMV points. But Speeding 20+ can also be written as Reckless Driving. Reckless Driving is actually a Crime. It is a Class 1 Misdemeanor and is punishable by up to $2500 fine, 6 months loss of license, and 1 year in jail. (Look for my other articles on punishments for Reckless Driving. The normal punishments are only a fraction of this max fine, license suspension and jail. For example, it is nearly unheard of for anyone to get one year in jail for a Reckless by Speed.) In addition to going greater than 20 mph over the limit, Reckless by Speed can also be a any speed over 80 mph. So, when a person is going 81 in a 70 mph zone, while he is only speeding 11 mph over the limit, he can still be charged with Reckless Driving.
How does a Prosecutor prove the speed? A Reckless Driving lawyer Fairfax County Virginia, will look at VA Code 46.2-882 – Determining Speed with Various Devices. This Code section basically allows a Prosecutor to prove speeding merely by having a Police Officer testify as to the result of his Speedometer if he paced the Defendant, or Radar or Laser if he measured the speed by pointing the Radar or Laser gun at the Defendant’s car. The Code section states “The speed of any motor vehicle may be determined by the use of (i) a laser speed determination device, (ii) radar… The results of such terminations shall be accepted as prima facie evidence of the speed of such motor vehicle in any court or legal proceeding where speed of the motor vehicle is at issue.” And if a question as to the accuracy of this device comes up, the Code section goes on to say that “…a certificate … showing the calibration or accuracy…” of the device used “…shall be admissible as evidence…” More simply stated, in real life, if the Police says the Defendant was speeding as measured by the speedometer, radar or laser, the Prosecutor/Police win as long as they can produce some certificate showing the accuracy. Why? Because the Virginia Code says so.
In my 30+ year career as a Reckless Driving Lawyer Fairfax County Virginia, I have sat in court hundreds upon hundreds of times to hear a Defendant say, “The Police Officer’s radar is wrong, there was no way I was going that fast…,” or “The laser must be broken because my car can’t possibly go that fast…” Judges and lawyers secretly laugh every time we hear this because we know the Defendant is about to lose. There is no way the Defendant will overcome VA Code 46.2-882 where the Police Officer’s speedometer, radar or laser is automatically assumed accurate as soon as the Police whip out the “magic certificate.”
Well, I used to laugh, until last week when my client produced his own scientific evidence of the speed of his motor vehicle. Modern technology of radar and laser guns has been used to prosecute drivers for decades, but now, technology can be used to defend against these charges. My client came to me being charged with Reckless for going 72 in a 50 mph zone. In my office he said, “There is no way I was going 72…” I started to secretly laugh, thinking, “I have now heard that same line the 1,000th time, ha, ha…” But then, my client showed me his monitoring system. He is 17, and got a speeding charge last year. His Dad installed a system that constantly tracks the car. Using Google Maps, it records the location of the car at all times and the actual speed. So, when I looked at the ticket, which said, “Rt. X at 10:30 a.m.”, I could see the recorded speed and location. On the map, it showed my client’s car on Rt. X, and at about 10:30 a.m. it shows a maximum speed of 59 mph and then showed the car slowing to zero and being in place for 15 minutes (the time it took the Police Officer to write the ticket).
So, what would an experienced Reckless Driving Lawyer Fairfax County do with this information? First, we needed to find out how to get it into evidence in a trial. The Defendant does not have a “magic code section” like 46.2-882 that automatically allows this device into evidence. Thus, I had my client and his Father go out and test it. They drove their car, made a record of all the speedometer readings for a period of time and then compare these readings to what the monitoring system recorded. The monitoring system accurately matched their own recordings of speed. Using this testing, at trial, even though the Defendant does not have a “magic code” section that allows his monitoring system to be determined accurate, he can present evidence that it is, in fact, accurate as shown by the testing. (Note: If my client was rich, he could use an independent analysis and have that independent person testify. But we were on a budget.) So, at trial, the Prosecutor had the Police Officer’s testimony, laser reading, and certificate of accuracy saying 72 in a 50 mph zone. I had my client’s testimony, results of the monitoring system, and personal test of accuracy saying 59 in a 50 mph zone. What was the result? I can’t tell you because the Prosecutor gave my client a plea bargain bringing the charge down from Reckless to Speeding. My client accepted the plea bargain. Had it gone to trial, I would have argued, “The standard of proof is ‘beyond a reasonable doubt,’ and here we have two competing measurements. That, in and of itself, IS reasonable doubt.”
So, back to the beginning, prior to last week, because of the “magic code” section 46.2-882 which makes Police Officer speedometer, laser and radar readings automatically admissible as accurate, I would have said that the Police Officer’s speed reading is infallible. But, now, I have a different opinion. If a driver has the technology installed, I believe that the reasonable doubt standard could bring fairness back to the Traffic Court.
What to expect on your Court date at Fairfax County General District Court.
Sometimes, the simplest tips by a top DUI / DWI or Reckless Driving Lawyer Fairfax VA, can help reduce the stress. Court is stressful on its own, and just knowing how to park, get in the building, whether you can bring your cell phone, and where to go in the Courthouse can help eliminate or at least reduce the nervousness. Here are some tips about Fairfax County General District Court.
Location: The Court is located at 4110 Chain Bridge Rd. Fairfax, VA.
Parking: There is public parking at a paid lot just North of the court house main entrance. It is about two – three blocks away from the main entrance. It will take you about 5+ minutes to walk to court. The joke is, “I needed a cab to get from the parking lot to the actual Courthouse!” When you pull in, you will receive ticket at the automatic entry gate. Put this in your purse or wallet. You will want to pay at the end of the day at the payment window prior to getting into your car.
Entry: The main entrance has a number of security personnel and screening machines and metal detectors. Everyone who has a court date in Juvenile & Domestic Relations, General District and Circuit Court are trying to get in at the same time. Get to the entrance about 30-45 minutes before the start of court. At 9:00 to 9:15 a.m. the lines can get very long. (Tip: There is a secondary entrance by the Jail which never has a line.)
Cell phones and lap tops: Recently, Fairfax County Courts changed the rules and they allow you to bring into the Courthouse, cell phones and lap tops. But when you are actually in a court room, you cannot use them. Also, when you are in a court room, be sure to have it on silent or turned off. If it rings, the Bailiff will confiscate it and you can’t get it back until the end of the day.
Location of the Court rooms: To get to the Traffic Court rooms, when you go through security, walk straight back to the opposite side of the building. On the wall, there are t.v. screens with people’s names listed alphabetically, for all Traffic Court cases. Reckless Driving, DUI / DWI, Hit and Run, Speeding, Driving on a Suspended License, and other less serious Traffic Offenses are all heard in these court rooms. Each officer has all his cases in the same room. And usually, there are 5 – 10 officers in each court. Criminal Court is on the second floor, just above the Traffic Courts. The docket t.v. screens are likewise up near the court rooms, but on the second floor.
Where to meet your attorney: Your DUI / DWI or Reckless Driving Lawyer Fairfax VA will explain to you where to meet. We have found it easier to meet outside of the court room door in the hallway. We usually meet people 15 minutes before the Court time starts.
What to expect in court: Each case will be different. In Fairfax, it usually involves a lot of waiting. Remember, Fairfax County has 1,200,000 residents. It is bigger than 8 other states. So imagine everyone in Montana with a case coming to one place every morning. You can expect to be there until 11:30 – noon. If your case goes to trial, it could be later. A good DUI / DWI or Reckless Driving Lawyer Fairfax VA will have only one serious case a day. That is because the plea agreement deals get better as the day wears on. For cheap lawyers who walk into Court with 3-5 files, they usually have to take the first plea deal they get from a Prosecutor so they can get out of that court room and get to the 2 – 4 other court rooms they need to get to. We don’t do that. We do one serious case a day and give our clients our undivided attention and fight for just you – not 4 other people. Most of the day will be waiting for the Prosecutor. Believe it or not, the Prosecutor probably has never looked at your case prior to getting to work at 9 a.m. that day. Usually, the Prosecutor meets lawyers just prior to court and pulls client case files who are represented by attorneys from the judge’s desk and puts them on their own desk. That way the case will not be called until the Prosecutor and Defense Attorney are ready. From 9:30 a.m. to about 10:45, the Prosecutor talks to the Police Officers to get the facts. From 10:45 to about 11:30 the Prosecutors talk to Defense Attorneys to see if a plea deal can be negotiated. If one can be agreed to, and if you decide to accept it, then a plea agreement form will be written up and handed to the Judge. In 99% of the cases, the Judge will accept the agreement. If the Judge rejects it, then the deal is off and you will either have to renegotiate a new deal or go to trial. Your DUI / DWI or Reckless Driving Lawyer Fairfax VA should explain to you the deal and what rights you are giving up in exchange for the deal. If no Plea Agreement is offered by the Prosecutor or if you do not accept the terms of the agreement, then your attorney will either ask for a continuance and schedule your case for another day, or you will go to trial. Trials usually go from 11:30 a.m. to about 1:00 p.m.
Exceptions to the above: In Fairfax County, for DUI and DWI cases, following your arraignment, the next court date is not your trial date. It is the “discovery day.” This is where the Prosecutor will let your DUI Attorney Fairfax VA see the Police Officer’s notes and give him the video, if one exists. The case is the set for trial in about 6-8 weeks from that “discovery day.”
Conclusion: Every Court is different, so make sure that your DUI / DWI Reckless Driving Lawyer Fairfax VA is experienced in Fairfax County. I grew up in Fairfax County and since starting the practice of law in 1988, have been in the Fairfax County courthouse probably 3,000 to 4,000 times.
What are common types of reckless driving?
If you have been charged with reckless driving, it may be important to speak to a reckless driving lawyer Fairfax VA trusts. Reckless driving can be more serious than other simple traffic offenses and it can come with harsh penalties. Let’s take a look at some of the common types of reckless driving:
Aggressive driving may include excessive honking, swerving in and out of lanes, and tailgating. This type of driving can intimidate and scare other drivers, which can keep them distracted from the road ahead of them.
It’s one thing to drive a few miles over the speed limit. It becomes a more serious matter if you drive 20 mph over the posted speed limit. If you drive much faster than the speed limit, you are more likely to endanger other people’s lives. If you were arrested for excessive speeding, it may be in your best interest to talk to a reckless driving lawyer in Fairfax VA.
Racing your vehicle on a public road is considered another form of reckless driving. If you and another vehicle race each other on the street, you are more likely to crash into other vehicles or pedestrians. In Virginia, you can be charged with reckless driving and may need the assistance of a reckless driving lawyer Fairfax VA respects.
Failure to Use Turn Signals
If you try to make a right- or left-hand turn without using your turn signal, you could be charged with reckless driving. Failing to use your turn signals may confuse other drivers and increase the risk of accidents. An experienced reckless driving lawyer Fairfax VA relies on may help you fight this charge in court.
Passing a School Bus
When a school bus stops to pick up or drop off passengers, drivers must stop their vehicles until the bus starts moving again. Unfortunately, not all drivers follow this rule. If you attempt to pass a bus while it is loading or unloading passengers, you can endanger the passengers. That’s why passing a school bus is considered reckless driving.
If a vehicle has faulty brakes, it can cause a driver to lose control of the vehicle and crash into other cars. If an accident is caused by a vehicle’s faulty brakes, the driver of the vehicle may be charged with reckless driving. If this has happened to you and you weren’t aware that something was wrong with your brakes, you may hire a Fairfax reckless driving lawyer to fight the charge.
At Dave Albo, we understand how stressful it can be to be charged with reckless driving. If you come and talk with a reckless driving lawyer Fairfax VA depends on from our firm, he may help you fight the charge.
Do not wait to hire a lawyer to handle your reckless driving charge. If you are searching for a reckless driving lawyer Fairfax VA offers, contact Dave Albo – Attorney.
I was charged with Reckless Driving for speeding. Can I get the Court to reduce it to Improper Driving?
This is an interesting question because there is a non-Misdemeanor statute (a mere traffic infraction) called Improper Driving, which when you read it, you would think it would allow a Judge to reduce a Reckless Driving charge to Improper Driving. Many inexperienced traffic lawyers tell potential clients, “I will get the Judge to reduce the Reckless to Improper.” But any experienced Reckless Driving Lawyer Fairfax Virginia will know about the Commonwealth v. Chibikom case, which unequivocally answers this question as “No.”
The only way to get a Reckless Driving by Speed reduced to Improper Driving would be to have the Prosecutor reduce it. (Note: Prosecutors have “prosecutorial discretion” which means that they can change charges prior to a trial.) If the Judge is following the law, he cannot change charges. Judges can only find people guilty or not guilty. The only way that they can change a charge is by finding someone guilty of a “lesser included offense.”
Since Prosecutors in Fairfax will only talk to attorneys, if you are going to court without an attorney, then you have no ability to get the Prosecutor to drop the charge to Improper Driving. Thus, you are only able to try and convince the Judge to lower the charge of Reckless Driving by Speed to a “lesser included offense” of Speeding less than 20mph over the limit. In other words, by having a lawyer, you have more options available to get your charge reduced. With a lawyer, you can get the Prosecutor to lower the charge to Improper Driving or Speeding less than 20 mph over. Without a lawyer, the only way to get it reduced is to get the Judge to make a finding of guilty to a lesser included offense of Speeding less than 20 mph over. Explained a different way, without a lawyer, the Improper Driving Option is not available.
Ask your Reckless Driving Lawyer Fairfax Virginia to show you the Improper Driving statute and explain it to you. If he won’t or does not know about it, here it is for your information:
- 46.2-869. Improper driving; penalty.
Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this article, upon the trial of any person charged with reckless driving where the degree of culpability is slight, the court in its discretion may find the accused not guilty of reckless driving but guilty of improper driving. However, an attorney for the Commonwealth may reduce a charge of reckless driving to improper driving at any time prior to the court’s decision and shall notify the court of such change. Improper driving shall be punishable as a traffic infraction punishable by a fine of not more than $500.
So, when you look at this, you would think that if a Judge finds that the “degree of culpability is slight” (e.g. you were just driving with traffic and everyone was going over 80 mph), he could just find you guilty of the traffic infraction of Improper Driving, as opposed to the Misdemeanor crime of Reckless Driving. But your Reckless Driving lawyer Fairfax Virginia will explain that the Chibikom case says that in a Reckless Speeding, there is no “culpability.” You are either going too fast or you are not. There is no “intent” involved in Speeding. So a Judge cannot, by definition, find “slight culpability” because this is impossible in speeding cases. This was the argument of the Prosecutors in the Chibikom case, and the Court of Appeals agreed with the Prosecutors. The Court of Appeals stated, “The Commonwealth responded by arguing that improper driving is not a lesser-included offense of reckless driving by speed. Specifically, the Commonwealth contended that reckless driving by speed is a strict liability offense and the statute prohibiting reckless driving by speed does not refer to degrees of culpability.”
In summary, if you want the best chance of getting your Reckless Driving by Speed reduced to a traffic infraction, you increase your odds by hiring a Reckless Driving Lawyer Fairfax Virginia. This is because your attorney can talk to the Prosecutor and try and get the charge reduced to Improper Driving or Speeding less than 20 mph over the limit. If you go on your own without an attorney, getting a finding of Improper is off the table because a Judge does not have the authority to give that to you. Only a Prosecutor can lower it to Improper, and in Fairfax County, you can’t talk to a Prosecutor.
If you have a Reckless Driving by Speed charge in Fairfax County, or any other Court in Northern Virginia, we would be honored to help you. Remember, that a Reckless Driving at very high speeds will result in Jail, and that license suspensions are very common for people with bad driving records. Even people with good driving records lose their licenses if they are going around 30 mph over the limit. If you are in any of these situations, or you are in a profession where a Reckless Driving conviction, no matter how slight the punishment, will harm your career, contact me. I am an experienced Reckless Driving Lawyer Fairfax Virginia. I have handled thousands of these cases over my 30+ years of representing people in Northern Virginia Courts. Call the office of Dave Albo – Attorney today.
Reckless Driving Lawyer – Fairfax County, VA
While each state has its own laws regarding criminal charges, reckless driving is usually defined (broadly, at least) in the same terms. A driver is said to be committing a reckless driving offense if he or she is intentionally driving with disregard to the safety of other drivers or pedestrians. An officer may decide to arrest a driver for reckless driving based upon his or her subjective observations. If a driver was arrested at the scene of a car accident and is accused of causing the wreck, even further repercussions may ensue. It is partially for this reason that it is so important to seek the legal guidance of an experienced Fairfax County, Virginia reckless driving lawyer if you have been charged with such a potentially consequential offense.
But it also makes good sense to connect with an attorney because oftentimes, those accused of reckless driving do not deserve to face the very steep consequences often associated with the offense. If you have been charged with reckless driving, please contact Dave Albo – Attorney immediately. This experienced Fairfax County, VA reckless driving lawyer can advocate on your behalf, with the aim of getting the charge dropped or getting the consequences of the situation significantly minimized, depending on the unique circumstances of your case.
Fines related to reckless driving convictions can be steep, upwards of a thousand dollars or more. Every county has its own guidelines when it comes to how much a person must pay in penalties for this criminal conviction. Additionally, if convicted this person is likely to face much higher insurance rates (if their current insurance company doesn’t decide to cancel their coverage altogether).
Typically, the penalty for reckless driving is two points added to that person’s record. The duration of time these points stay on the record can depend on the severity of the offending driving. If the accident that unfolded caused substantial personal and property damage, then the points may remain for an extended period of time.
Time Behind Bars
Reckless driving can lead to time behind bars. This is perhaps the most pressing reason to contact a Fairfax County, VA reckless driving lawyer as soon as you have been charged. In some states, a person convicted of this offense may have to spend months in jail. Those who have a history of traffic violations may have to serve up to six months or more. More time may be added to the sentence if the driver had caused serious harm to others while driving recklessly.
If convicted, a person is quite likely to have their driver’s license revoked or suspended. Those with previous convictions may face the possibility of prolonged suspensions. Factors in how long a person loses the license can depend on whether the individual is a repeat offender. If so, the person may have to complete court-ordered driver’s education to be able to apply to get their license back after a certain time period. These classes can be expensive and time-consuming.
Paying for Damages
Let’s say a person is accused of reckless driving, which had led to a serious car accident. If convicted of the offense and deemed at-fault for the accident, this person may have to also pay damages to the driver who was harmed. A Fairfax County, VA reckless driving lawyer can help protect the accused from not only paying for costly fees, but for the other driver’s medical bills, loss of wages, and pain and suffering too.
New 2017 Traffic Laws
In addition to my profession as a Reckless Driving Lawyer Fairfax VA, I served in the Virginia Legislature and was Chairman of the Committee that writes all the traffic laws. There are some new laws which went into effect on July 1, 2017 in regards to traffic, and I wanted to make sure that everyone is up to date on these issues. The new laws are mainly targeted towards driving violations while on the highway, but one of them allows a possible second chance for those who have committed a minor violation. For guidance when facing a reckless driving charge, contact Dave Albo Attorney, a reckless driving lawyer representing Fairfax VA.
Failure to drive on the right side of highways or observe traffic lanes; penalties. This law outlines the new fine for failing to drive on the right side of the highway when not passing. Sets the fine for failing to drive on the right side of highways or failing to observe traffic lanes at $100. Under current law, any such failure is punishable by a fine of no more than $250. Interestingly, this was really already the law, but no one knew about it. People always complain about the “slow” guy in the left lane. As a Fairfax VA reckless driving lawyer, Dave Albo Attorney wants you to know that under current law, this is illegal. You are supposed to drive on the right side, unless you are passing. No one ever pays attention to this. Thus, the increase in fines was meant to bring it to people’s attention.
Failure to obey highway sign; driver stopped on the highway shoulder to sleep or rest; prepayable offense. Stopping on the side of the highway to rest will result in a fine which you don’t need to go to court for. This avoids having to hire a Reckless Driving Lawyer from Fairfax VA. But, if you’re parked in a dangerous position then you will be required to attend court. This provides that a violation of a highway sign where a driver has parked or stopped his vehicle on the shoulder of the highway in order to sleep or rest is a prepayable offense unless such vehicle is parked or stopped in such manner as to impede or render dangerous the shoulder or other portion of the highway.
Dismissal of certain traffic violations for proof of compliance with law. This law allows a court to dismiss a variety of violations, which are listed below, if the violator provides proof of compliance on or before their court appearance and the court chooses to do so. Obviously, this avoids having to not only go to court, but to go through the expense of hiring a Reckless Driving Lawyer in Fairfax VA from Dave Albo. This provides that a court may, in its discretion, dismiss a violation for failure to notify the Department of Motor Vehicles of change of address, for failing to register, title, or properly display license plates, for failure to pay local licensing fees or taxes, for failure to have certain safety equipment or having unsafe or defective equipment, or for improper tinting. If such a person can prove to the court compliance with the law on or before the court date and payment of court fees, the violation may be dismissed.
A Fairfax VA Reckless Driving Lawyer Can Represent You
Dave Albo Attorney, is an experienced and steadfast lawyer that you can rely on when facing reckless driving charges in the state of Virginia. By working with our law firm, we can support you by reviewing the circumstances surrounding the reckless driving charge and represent you. This may even result in reduced charges. A reckless driving charge can come with its fair share of consequences, some of which can certainly impact your life. Working with a reckless driving lawyer representing Fairfax VA like Dave Albo Attorney can ensure that you are working with a professional who is well versed in traffic laws.
Understanding the Common Types of Reckless Driving
Reckless driving is defined as a person who has a disregard for traffic laws and the rules of the road. In some cases, such disregard can impact the safety of not only the driver, but others on the road. Even for a person who had the best of intentions, it may be possible to face reckless driving charges. Our Fairfax VA reckless driving lawyer is all too familiar with driving actions that constitute reckless driving, such as:
- Any action while driving that could potentially put another person in danger
- A person who is operating a motor vehicle with faulty brakes and are unable to maintain control of the vehicle
- Passing another vehicle without a view of oncoming traffic
- Having more passengers in the vehicle than available seat belts
- Passing a school bus who is stopped while passengers are entering or exiting the school bus
- Driving faster than traffic or road conditions allow for
- Driving more than 20mph over the posted speed limit, or driving at a speed that exceeds 80mph
- Illegally passing other vehicles
- Racing other vehicles
Our reckless driving lawyer in Fairfax VA can help to represent you should you find yourself facing reckless driving charges. For drivers, having awareness of laws surrounding reckless driving is important to the safety of not only the driver, but others on the road. However, in some cases, drivers may be unaware of the severity of these actions, which may leave them facing a reckless driving charge as a result. Our experienced reckless driving lawyer representing Fairfax VA is here to help you understand the possible consequences, and represent you in the courtroom.
The Benefit of Hiring Dave Albo Attorney
Dave Albo Attorney has experience in representing those who may be contending with reckless driving charges. Our law firm has been defending those facing reckless driving charges for over two decades. Give yourself the opportunity you deserve by working with a Fairfax VA reckless driving lawyer who can provide you with the best chance of mitigating the consequences you stand to face. Consequences of reckless driving in the state of Virginia if convicted may include:
- Jail Time of up to one year
- Fines of up to $2,500
- License Suspension
- Criminal Record
Without a lawyer, you risk facing serious penalties. Speaking with our reckless driving lawyer from Fairfax VA can provide you with a number of benefits, such as:
- Experience with representing clients facing reckless driving
- Help you to have a clear understanding of the legal process
- Regular updates regarding your case
- Persistent professionals to give you the best chance of a positive outcome
Dave Albo Attorney knows reckless driving and has extensive experience with representing clients facing such charges. To ensure that your rights are protected, and for the legal guidance you deserve, contact our Fairfax VA reckless driving lawyer today.
Where when and how to meet your lawyer in Fairfax General District Court.
When facing a Criminal, Reckless Driving, DUI / DWI or Driving on a Suspended License charge in Fairfax General District Court, most people are stressed out or at the very least nervous. Each Criminal – DUI / DWI – Reckless Driving Lawyer Fairfax VA who routinely represents people in Fairfax, should be able to tell you when and where to meet, what the procedures are, and what to expect.
Location of Fairfax Court. Fairfax Court is located at 4110 Chain Bridge Rd. Fairfax, VA. “Chain Bridge” has a bunch of other names. They include Ox Rd., Main Street and Rt. 123. The parking lot is to the North of the Courthouse about two blocks away. Park there and bring your parking voucher with you. When leaving, you will need to present it and pay prior to getting into your car. If you are elderly or disabled, the walk is long. If you are elderly or disabled, have someone drop you off at the front of the Court house and then go park.
Security and Entry. Fairfax held the first terrorist trial back in the 90’s, so it has the longest standing security regimen in Virginia. You will have to take off shoes, belts and unload your pockets. Once through the magnometers, you can proceed to tables where you can put all your items back on your body. You may take cell phones into Fairfax Court. But be sure to turn them off when in a court room.
Where and when to meet your attorney. Usually, each Criminal – DUI / DWI – Reckless Driving Lawyer Fairfax VA from Dave Albo, meets their clients in the hallway in front of the Court room door. Our preference is to meet at 9:15 a.m. for traffic and criminal cases, and 1:30 p.m. for Preliminary Hearings. Traffic cases are usually on the first floor. Criminal cases and Preliminary Hearings are usually on the second floor. If your attorney is not there at 9:15 a.m., don’t worry. He / she may be talking to a Prosecutor. Some attorneys – not us but other attorneys – may not meet you in the hall prior to Court. (Note: We only do one important case a day. But some cheap attorneys who charge a small fee, take on too many cases at one time and are not there to meet you personally) If that happens, then at the Court start time, go into the Court and sit. Hopefully they will find you.
How do I know which court room to go to? After going through security, walk to the opposite end of the building. There, on t.v. screens, are all defendant’s names listed alphabetically. Next to your name, the screen will indicate something like “1 D” or “1 J”. That means first floor Court room “D” or “J”. For criminal cases and Preliminary Hearings, go to the opposite end of the building, but then go up to the second floor. You will see similar t.v. screens. These screens will give you your Court room (e.g. “2 K”, means second floor Court room K).