You are not technically required to have a lawyer when you are charged with reckless driving, but you will want to strongly consider taking that step, especially in Virginia, where reckless driving is considered a criminal offense rather than a civil offense and therefore carries severe consequences. Reckless driving, a Class 1 misdemeanor in the state, carries a maximum fine of $2,500 or a jail sentence of up to 12 months – or some combination of the two. A reckless driving charge will also give you six negative points on your Virginia driver’s license and, in some cases, could result in the suspension of your driver’s license.
A ticket for reckless driving means a summons to General District Court, where a judge will consider your case and render a verdict and, if you are found guilty, a sentence. You can opt to defend yourself in court or to simply plead guilty and accept the court’s decision for punishment. However, an attorney experienced in reckless driving cases can work with you to pursue the best possible judgment for you, potentially saving you an expensive fine, time in jail and a hefty hike to your insurance rates – not to mention preventing you from finding yourself with a criminal record.
Criminal attorneys with a background in reckless driving cases can examine your case closely to see where possible holes in the prosecution’s case might exist, such as a police officer failing to follow proper procedure, and argue for a not-guilty verdict. Or, depending on the circumstances, attorneys can work on your behalf to argue for reducing your reckless driving charge to a more lenient civil traffic charge, such as speeding or improper driving. Earning a reduced charge often requires the skill and background of a lawyer who is accustomed to negotiating with judges and prosecutors on cases such as yours.
One other advantage to hiring an attorney to help you with your case is that you may be able to skip appearing in court yourself. Instead, your attorney can seek a motion to waive your appearance and appear in your place. Virginia courts often grant this motion, which is especially helpful for ticketed motorists from out of state or from a different Virginia locality from the site of the charge.
Need a criminal attorney in Virginia? Contact Irving & Feldmann, PC today.