For most people who've been charged with reckless driving, an arraignment is their first experience with a criminal proceeding. Virginia uses the term arraignment to refer to a first court appearance, and the purpose of an arraignment is to go over issues that need to be settled before trial.
Your reckless driving ticket will state if your case is set for arraignment or trial. However, you can also learn this information by calling the court clerk's office.
An arraignment is an administrative hearing that goes over the following issues:
- Charges. The judge will state the charges against you and ask if you understand them.
- Legal representation. Since reckless driving carries the possibility of jail time, the judge will inform you that you have a right to be represented by an attorney. You have three options: hire your own attorney, waive your right to an attorney, or ask for a court-appointed attorney. To receive a court-appointed attorney, you must meet the state's low-income requirements.
- Next step. If you've decided to waive your right to an attorney, the judge may ask if you want to go ahead with the trial that day. Otherwise, the next step is to schedule the date for your trial.
Having an Attorney Appear on Your Behalf
If you have already hired a reckless driving attorney to prepare your defense, you may not need to be physically present for the arraignment. Some courts allow the attorney representing you to appear in court on your behalf, while others simply ask for a formal notice that the attorney is representing the accused. It's typically safest to assume that you should plan on appearing in court for the arraignment unless your attorney informs you otherwise.
Charles V. Hardenbergh Can Help
The penalties associated with a reckless driving conviction are stiff, and obtaining skilled representation is the best way to keep this charge from ruining your future. Virginia attorney Charles V. Hardenbergh is committed to helping drivers build the strongest possible defense for their reckless driving cases. Call today to schedule a free, no-obligation initial case review.