Reckless driving is not just another speeding ticket. Reckless driving is a criminal offense - a Class 1 misdemeanor. A Class 1 misdemeanor is the most serious type of misdemeanor in Virginia. The next more serious offense is a felony. Other Class 1 misdemeanors include assault and battery, possession with intent to distribute marijuana, DUI/DWI, prostitution, theft, credit card fraud, and sexual battery. The most common forms of reckless driving charged in Fairfax County, Virginia are 46.2-862 (reckless speeding) and 46.2-852 (reckless general).
If Convicted, You Will Have a Permanent Criminal Record.
In Virginia, criminal convictions are for LIFE. While a criminal traffic charge may drop off of your DMV record after 11 years, it will NEVER be removed from your permanent criminal record with the FBI. If convicted, you will have a permanent criminal record for life (maintained by the FBI as part of their National Crime Information Center-NCIC). You cannot ever expunge or seal a conviction in Virginia.
In addition to the stigma of being branded a "convicted criminal", you will face:
the potential inability to obtain a job that requires a criminal background check;
increased life insurance and automobile insurance rates (some insurance companies now triple the auto insurance rates of those convicted of reckless driving - as much or more than for those convicted of a first DUI);
possible security clearance issues; and
difficulty traveling abroad.
The list goes on and on. Any time a person with a reckless driving conviction receives a traffic infraction in the future, the officer, prosecutor, and judge will know about the prior conviction and the driver will receive little courtesy, possibly no reduction, and will likely be treated harshly. A reckless driving conviction has the potential to cause lifelong adverse consequences. Learn about the 5 mistakes that will SINK your Fairfax Reckless Driving case.
Virginia Reckless Driving Speeding
In Virginia, the law provides that a person commits reckless driving speeding if they drive at a speed of twenty miles per hour or more above the speed limit OR above eighty miles per hour regardless of the speed limit. However, just because you are charged with reckless driving does not mean that you will be convicted of reckless driving. Despite the fact that you may very well have been speeding, it may be possible to take certain actions before court that will create an opportunity for an experienced reckless driving lawyer to negotiate a reduction of your charge to a non-reckless/non-criminal traffic infraction.
Virginia Reckless Driving General & Failure to Maintain Control
Reckless driving general and failure to maintain control are often charged by the Virginia State Police and other police agencies where there has been an accident, someone has fallen asleep at the wheel, or the officer observes driving behavior he or she believes to be dangerous. There are a number of legal case decisions that apply to these situations that can provide defenses to the charge. In each case these legal decisions should be reviewed for applicability to your situation. Even where there is not a strong legal defense available, it is possible many times to negotiate a reduction of the charge out of reckless driving and down to a non-criminal traffic infraction.
What Punishments Can a Virginia Judge Impose?
Virginia law provides that reckless driving, even as a first offense for someone with a perfect record, is punishable by up to 12 months in jail, a $2,500 fine and a six month license suspension.
In cases where the speed is excessive or there is actual reckless behavior (tailgating, excessive lane changes, failure to use signals), judges impose active incarceration, even if you have a clean driving record.
Moreover, the license suspension is significant. Under Virginia law, the suspension, if imposed, has to be for a minimum of 60 days.
Do Not Make a Bad Situation Worse By Hiring the Wrong Attorney
Who you hire as a reckless driving lawyer can be the single greatest factor that affects the outcome of your legal situation. Unfortunately, it is very difficult for a person charged with reckless driving to evaluate what attorney to hire. As explained on this site, there are many firms and attorneys that will be marketing themselves to you. How to make an informed decision about who you select as your Fairfax reckless driving lawyer.
Former Fairfax Prosecutor - Handled 1000's of Reckless Driving Cases on Both Sides in Fairfax County.
As a former Fairfax County prosecutor, attorney Kyle G. Manikas has specialized knowledge as to how reckless driving cases are handled in Fairfax County. Attorney Manikas has both prosecuted and defended thousands of reckless driving cases in Fairfax. As a result, he has an inside understanding of the Fairfax system that you will face:
- the steps that the prosecution will take to prepare the case,
- the manner in which the prosecutor will present the case,
- the internal pressures and decision-making process that prosecutors and police face;
- and how specific prosecutors and judges may react to certain evidence and facts.
This experience provides attorney Manikas with an in-depth understanding of how these cases are handled from the inside out.
Attorney Manikas appears in Fairfax courts on a daily basis dealing with the same judges, prosecutors, and police officers that will handle and be involved your case. Having come from this system, attorney Manikas has a good, solid working relationship with these individuals. Good relationships with police officers, current prosecutors and court personnel are critical to ensuring that your case is handled properly and resolved in the best possible way.
The experience that attorney Manikas has on both sides of the system in Fairfax gives him knowledge and experience that cannot be gained by an attorney who has spent their entire career on only one side of the legal equation. It is a perspective that has worked to the advantage of many of his former clients.
Call 703-556-0004 or use the Contact Us box to schedule a free consultation. Attorney Manikas will analyze your case from the perspective of a former prosecutor who has an inside understanding of the Fairfax system you will face.