Reckless driving in Virginia typically is a Class 1 misdemeanor charge, the state’s highest level of misdemeanor. If convicted, you face a maximum fine of $2,500 or a jail sentence of up to 12 months in Virginia – or some combination of the two. Because reckless driving is considered a criminal offense rather than a traffic offense in Virginia, you cannot prepay your ticket, an option you would have with a simple speeding ticket. Instead, you receive a summons to appear in court. However, you may be able to avoid appearing in court yourself with the help of an attorney.
It can prove very difficult to appear in court on a reckless driving charge, especially if you live in a different locality or do not even live in Virginia and were merely passing through the state when the incident occurred. An experienced attorney can work with you to seek a motion to waive your appearance from the presiding judge, allowing your attorney to appear in your place. Courts in Virginia often will grant this motion, depending on the circumstances of the case, and free you from the obligation to appear yourself.
An criminal attorney appearing in court with you or on your behalf also can help you successfully argue to reduce your reckless driving charge to a more lenient traffic charge, such as speeding or improper driving. These carry smaller fines, no risk of jail time and lesser increases in your insurance fees, making the court time well worth it.
You do not want to risk simply skipping your court summons without you or an attorney present. In those circumstances, you could be tried in your absence, risking the worst-possible judgment, or the judge could file a bench warrant for your arrest, potentially leading to an additional charge for failing to appear in court.
Need the help of a knowledgeable criminal attorney in Virginia? Visit Irving & Feldmann PC.