Can I Prepay For Reckless Driving In Virginia?

When you receive a traffic ticket, such as for a speeding infraction, the officer who makes the stop often will give you a “Virginia Prepayable Offenses Information Sheet.” If your alleged violation is on the sheet, then you have the option of choosing to simply accept the charge and prepay your fine – either online or by mail – rather than go to court. This, of course, means forfeiting your right to contest the charge and fight to keep it off your driving record.

However, the prepay option does not extend to misdemeanor charges, and reckless driving in the commonwealth of Virginia is a Class 1 misdemeanor charge, which is 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.

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Can You Prepay For Reckless Driving?

Because reckless driving is considered a criminal offense rather than a traffic offense in Virginia, the state does not offer the option of simply paying your fine ahead of time. This is partly because your punishment for reckless driving is not determined ahead of time. For a speeding ticket, for instance, a police officer can assign your fine to you on the side of the road. A reckless driving conviction, on the other hand, will result in a punishment determined in court.

 

When a police officer elects to charge you with reckless driving, they will issue you a ticket. Below your signature is a box next to a line that reads, “You may avoid coming to court only if this block is checked and all instructions on defendant’s copy are followed.” That box is not checked on reckless charges. Instead, you will receive a summons to appear in General District Court, where a judge will hear your case. Depending on the court and your specific case, your attorney may be allowed to represent you without your presence at the case.

If you are ultimately found guilty of reckless driving and your punishment includes a fine, you will not be required to pay the fine on the day of your sentencing. Instead, you will have 30 days to make the payment. If you miss your deadline, you risk having your driver’s license suspended.

Need more help or want to learn more? Visit a top Manassas Criminal Lawyers website today.

 

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Do I Need A Lawyer For A Reckless Driving Ticket In Virginia?

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.

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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.

Do I Have To Go To Court For Reckless Driving In Virginia?

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.

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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.