Many people are surprised when they are stopped by the police and receive a reckless driving by speed charge. Most people out driving are on their way home, running errands, or simply out doing mundane activities and committing a misdemeanor is not on their agenda. Unfortunately, driving 20 mph or more over the speed limit or driving in excess of 85 mph regardless of the speed limit is reckless driving in Virginia. Reckless Driving by Speed is one of the most common charges in Prince William County and we strongly recommend people hire an attorney. Many reckless driving by speed charges can be reduced and the harsh consequences avoided. We handle reckless driving charges almost every day and want to help. Give us a call at 703-273-4100 for a free consultation or use the contact form below.
What is Reckless Driving by Speed?
Reckless Driving by Exceeding the Speed Limit is governed by Virginia Code §46.2-862. The statute is pretty strict and simply says that a person is guilty of reckless driving if they drive on a highway at a speed over 20 mph or more over the speed limit or in excess of 85 mph regardless of the speed limit. A conviction for reckless driving by speed is the same Class 1 Misdemeanor as any other type of reckless driving conviction. As a result, the penalty is the possibility of a jail sentence of up to 12 months, 6-month loss of privilege to drive, and $2500 fine. The good news is these so-called maximum punishments are rare in Prince William County and Judges will typically sentence someone to much lesser penalties. However, avoiding a misdemeanor conviction is still important in order to avoid an impact on current or future employment whether or not you drive for a living and the big hit on insurance rates.
Defenses to Reckless Driving by Speed in Prince William County
Fighting a reckless by speed case requires that certain steps be taken before your court date. Prince William County favors those cases in which the individual takes a driver improvement course. This shows the court the person has taken the time out of their day to go through materials in order to refresh their obligations to the road and passed a written test. In higher speed cases or in cases where the person's driving record reflects prior tickets, there are additional measures that need to be taken. Additional measures may include an additional reckless driving course, speedometer calibration, or community service. Below are some of the things we recommend people do before court in a reckless driving by speed case:
DRIVER IMPROVEMENT COURSE
An 8-hour driver improvement course is the gold standard for traffic court because the Court has an obligation to handle cases on it's docket with an eye towards protecting the community. When an individual takes a driver improvement course, they are showing the court that they are promoting safety too.
- https://www.idrivesafely.com/ (online only)
RECKLESS DRIVING COURSE
When the speed is elevated or the person has prior tickets on their driving record, we may recommend our clients take an additional reckless driving course. This course is used in conjunction with the driver improvement course and really shows the individual is doing everything they can to achieve a good outcome in their case. It should be noted that most reckless driving courses are done in-class.
Virginia Code §46.2-942 requires that the Court consider a notarized calibration test of the accuracy of the speedometer of the vehicle the person was driving when they were stopped. The vehicle is hooked up to a dynamometer and a Vehicle Speed Calibration is printed and notarized by the shop reflecting the actual speed versus the reading of the dynamometer. This document must be considered in determining guilt or innocence and in fixing punishment. While we have not seen Judges dismiss cases because of an inaccurate speedometer, they do use them in reducing charges.
- https://advancedautomotiveva.com/ (our preferred shop for calibrations)
In reckless driving cases where the speed is very high and jail time is an issue, we will recommend our clients do community service. Hours can be done at any non-profit organization such as Habitat for Humanity, Good Will, Salvation Army, a Thrift Store, etc. For example, if our client is charged with going 100 mph, we may recommend they do 100 hours of community service. The hours may not necessarily result in the charge being lowered, but it will help minimize the possibility of a jail sentence and shorten any potential license suspension.
Outcomes for Reckless Driving by Speed in Prince William County
Our number one goal in a reckless driving by speed case is to avoid a conviction. In some cases this means going to trial and in other cases it means negotiating with the prosecutor or arguing to the Judge for a reduction of the charge. In many cases, we can get the charge lowered to a simple speeding ticket, improper driving, or some other traffic infraction so that we avoid the misdemeanor conviction. In Prince William County, they have a traffic school for dismissal program in certain types of cases. If this is an option, we will certainly pursue it as well. It should be noted that the speed must not be excessive and the individual must have a perfect driving record in order for the Court to allow participation in this option.
Going to Court
In some reckless driving cases, we can appear for court on your behalf. In cases where the speed is not excessive and you have a good driving record, you can stay home or go to work while we handle everything for you. We always call our clients from the courthouse before we do anything in front of the Judge to let them know how their case is going. Whether or not we can appear for you is on a case-by-case basis. If you need to appear for court, we will still handle everything for you. You will not need to speak to anyone and can simply watch the docket as we handle your business.
We handle reckless driving by speed charges in Prince William County as well as those that occur in the City of Manassas, Manassas Park, Town of Occoquan, Town of Haymarket, and the Town of Dumfries. Do not hesitate to reach out and we would be happy to discuss your case and help you put this ordeal behind you.