When you receive a reckless driving ticket, you might find yourself wondering if signing the ticket is the same as admitting guilt. The confusion is understandable, but your signature is only a promise to appear in court.
Why You Need to Sign Your Reckless Driving Ticket
Virginia considers reckless driving a criminal charge instead of a simple traffic violation. However, most drivers aren't going to be handcuffed or taken to a police station when charged with this offense.
The ticket the officer gives you after you've been pulled over is considered a legal summons that replaces traditional forms of custodial arrest. Your ticket will show a date, time, and location where you are expected to appear in court. Your signature is considered a promise to appear to address the charge.
If you refuse to sign the ticket, the officer can legally assume that you don't intent to make your required court appearance. As such, he is allowed to take you into custody and book you on the charge.
Regardless of whether you believe you're guilty of reckless driving, signing the ticket is always in your best interests.
The Next Steps
After you receive your ticket, don't panic. Reckless driving carries stiff penalties, but an experienced attorney can help you prepare an aggressive defense against the charge. You may be able to use factors such as a completing community service, attending a driver improvement clinic, or submitting a speedometer calibration to have your charge reduced to a lesser offense or dropped all together.
Although arresting officers have quite a bit of discretion in issuing reckless driving tickets, judges have an even greater authority. If you are polite and respectful during your court appearance and have representation from a skilled attorney, there's no reason to believe one simple mistake will cost you your future.
Virginia attorney Charles V. Hardenbergh is dedicated to helping drivers build the strongest possible defense for their reckless driving cases. Call today to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation.