If you are charged with reckless driving, you may be tempted to plead guilty, or you may try to defend yourself at your court hearing to save money on attorney fees. However, reckless driving is a serious offense in Virginia, and not hiring an attorney is a big mistake that could have far-reaching, life-long consequences.
Why You Need an Attorney When Facing Reckless Driving Charges in Virginia
There are approximately 15 different offenses that constitute reckless driving in Virginia. For example, speeding over 80 miles per hour or driving 20 miles over the posted speed limit are just a few of the ways you could violate this law. You could also be charged with this crime for driving too fast for conditions, failing to yield the right-of-way, and failing to use your turn signal. Thus, it’s important to retain an attorney who knows how to defend against reckless driving charges. Here are some ways an attorney can help you:
- Avoid harsh penalties. Reckless driving is a misdemeanor offense in Virginia and not a traffic ticket. If you are convicted, you could be sentenced to up to one year in jail, assessed a fine of $2,500, have your driver’s license suspended for six months, and have six points placed on your driving record. An attorney can help you avoid these harsh penalties.
- Avoid permanent criminal record. Because reckless driving is a misdemeanor, you would have a permanent criminal record if convicted. This could affect your ability to obtain employment, housing, and a security clearance.
- Provide defenses. Even if you believe you are guilty of reckless driving, you may have strong defenses that can result in the charges being dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense with less severe penalties. An experienced reckless driving attorney will be able to identify the defenses you can raise given the circumstances surrounding your arrest and help you obtain the evidence you need to prove them.
- Represent you at court. You will be at a serious disadvantage if you try to enter into a plea agreement with the prosecutor on your own and may be treated differently by the judge if you do not have an attorney represent you. In some cases, your attorney may be able to attend the court hearing on your behalf, so you do not need to take time off work to go to the hearing.
When retaining an attorney, it is important to hire one who is experienced in both entering into plea agreements and trying reckless driving cases. An attorney who handles other types of cases such as car accidents, probate matters, or divorces will not have the skill you need to help you effectively fight the charges you face.
If you’ve been charged with reckless driving in Virginia, we are here to help you aggressively fight the charges you face. To learn what you can expect in your criminal proceedings, fill out our convenient online form to schedule your free consultation.