"Reckless Driving Generally" is a very common charge in Prince William County. This type of reckless driving charge is typically issued in cases involving an accident, excessive speed, consumption of alcohol, and other driving instances believed to pose significant risk. Prince William County is the second-most populated county in Virginia so issues can arise with navigating traffic conditions. If you receive a general reckless driving charge, it cannot be prepaid and is a misdemeanor charge. We handle reckless driving cases almost everyday and can help. Give us a call at 703-273-4100 for a free consultation or use the contact form below and we will help you through this.
§46.2-852: Reckless Driving Generally in Prince William County
Reckless Driving is codified under Virginia Code §46.2-852 as driving on a highway in a manner so as to endanger life, limb, or property of any person. The statute is very broad and can encompass a wide array of driving behavior. Reckless Driving Generally is not considered a specific intent crime which means it does not matter if you meant for it to happen. Rather, the court will look at the manner and circumstances surrounding the driving meaning, essentially, if there was any negligence in the driving. In Prince William County, the number one reason people get charged with Reckless Driving Generally is because of an accident. Since the statute covers endangering property, a vehicular accident falls squarely under this law. However, just because you were involved in an accident does not make it reckless driving.
Reckless Driving Generally Penalties
Reckless Driving is a Class 1 Misdemeanor so it carries a potential jail sentence of up to 12 months, $2500 fine, and a driver's license suspension for up to 6 months. However, this harsh punishment is rare in Prince William County for reckless general cases. While jail time is always possible, it is not routine and requires very bad facts. A more common punishment for reckless driving is a driver's license suspension. If the privilege to drive is suspended, it is up to the Judge whether to grant a restricted license so the individual can still drive to work.
In the end, arguably the real issue becomes having a misdemeanor on your record if convicted. For those that drive for Uber, Lyft, have a security clearance, possess a Commercial Driver's License, or have jobs that require background checks, a reckless driving conviction could pose a problem. Hiring an attorney will be essential.
Defenses to Reckless Driving Generally
Case law has held that the mere happening of an accident does not give rise to reckless driving. The Courts have held that speculation and conjecture as to what caused someone to lose control of their vehicle is not enough to prove guilt. There must be more evidence other than there was a bad accident. For example, a police officer coming upon a crash scene where a vehicle is totaled, the driver is injured, and a tree is destroyed may not be reckless driving if there is not more evidence surrounding the driving before the accident. However, if the same individual tells the police they were tired, looking at their phone, or going over the speed limit, a reckless driving charge could stick due to those additional facts.
In Prince William County, many police officers will charge reckless driving if an accident was involved. This is true even if the accident was simply a fender bender. In these cases, we need to understand what caused the accident. In many cases, the client was in stop-and-go bumper-to-bumper traffic and the vehicle in front stopped abruptly. While these accidents are minor, the driver's inattentiveness could result in a conviction. In these cases, we will want to negotiate a reduction of the charge with the prosecutor or argue for it before a Judge. In many cases, we can have our client walk away with a simple traffic infraction such as improper driving.
The Court Process in Prince William County for Reckless Driving Generally Charges
If you receive a summons in Prince William County for Reckless Driving Generally, the case will be heard in the Prince William County Courthouse at 9311 Lee Avenue, Manassas, Virginia 20110. This includes those cases that happened in the localities of the City of Manassas, Manassas Park, Town of Occoquan, Town of Dumfries, or Town of Haymarket. There are different prosecutors involved in some of the localities but the cases will be heard by Prince William County General District Court Judges.
Most cases are heard at 9:00am but many state trooper cases are heard at 10:30am so you will want to check your summons carefully for the time. If your reckless driving case involves an accident with witnesses, the Judge or prosecutor will first look to see if you want to resolve the case that day by guilty plea. In many cases, the charge can be reduced and resolved on the first court date. However, if there are bodily injuries involved or it is otherwise a bad accident, the case will likely be continued for trial. This is because in accident cases in Prince William County the other drivers involved are not subpoenaed to the first court date.
For your court date, in some cases, we can appear for court on your behalf so that you don't have to miss work or other obligations. We would appear for you and stay in touch with you that morning by phone. We will offer this service in those cases in which we think we can resolve it without you needing to be present in court. In other cases, we have our clients appear about 15-20 minutes before the court date to get them settled in. You would not need to speak to anyone as we would take care of all the logistics. It should be noted that cellphones are not permitted in the Prince William County Courthouse so they should be left in your vehicle.
Hiring an Attorney for your Reckless Driving Case
All consultations are free and we offer reasonable flat-fees for our reckless driving cases. Even if this is your first reckless driving charge, it is important to do everything you can to avoid a misdemeanor conviction. The Judges and prosecutors in Prince William County are reasonable but they still need to see the case from your perspective and not just the police officer's. We will help you present your case and your perspective so that the court sees that you care about this case and the outcome.