Drivers across the United States see a variety of road rules that depend on the varying individual states’ laws. In Virginia, there are some very strict laws on reckless driving. At the BernsteinHough, P.C. law firm, we often receive questions from clients regarding how to get out of a reckless driving ticket in VA after they’ve already been found guilty?
At BernsteinHough, P.C., we know that sometimes out of state drivers will not realize the seriousness of a reckless driving charge and will many times just pre-pay the ticket or go to court unprepared, thinking of it as “just a speeding ticket.” This approach often results in the driver being unwittingly found guilty of the criminal misdemeanor of reckless driving. If that has happened to you, we may be able to help you.
To begin, it is important to understand what reckless driving encompasses. Here in the state of Virginia, reckless driving is recognized as a Class 1 Misdemeanor, making it a criminal offense. Reckless driving is most typically charged when a driver:
- Exceeds the posted speed limit by more than 20 miles per hour
- Drives more than 80 miles per hour regardless of the posted limit
Reckless driving in Virginia is punishable by a fine of up to $2,500 and/or up to 1-year in jail. Those found guilty of reckless driving can also lose their privilege to drive for up to 6-months, and receive 6 points against their license, which remains registered with the state DMV for 11-years following the incident.
This charge becomes part of a permanent criminal record that follows you for the rest of your life. It affects:
- Future job applications
- Insurance premiums
- Potential out of country travel plans
- License renewal
If you have been found guilty of reckless driving, either because a judge found you guilty in court or because you pre-paid the “ticket”, please reach out to us immediately.
Appealing Your Reckless Driving Conviction
Following the initial conviction, it is crucial to talk to a defense attorney who handles reckless driving tickets right away. The earlier you begin working with an attorney, the more likely it is that the attorney can appeal your case, and possibly overturn the conviction and the more likely it is you will be successful in your efforts to avoid a criminal record, jail time or a large fine.
Your attorney may be able to completely overturn the conviction, or at minimum reduce jail time or fines, and negotiate additional penalization depending on the case.
Some things to consider when determining how to get out of a reckless driving ticket in VA include:
Timeframe & Requirements
You can only appeal a reckless driving conviction for so long. This is another reason calling a lawyer early is essential. The appeal must be filed within 10-days of the conviction, including weekends and holidays. If you wait until outside of this window your conviction is likely permanent and unappealable.
Filing an Appeal
The appeal must be filed, most often in person, with the General District Court Clerk. At BernsteinHough, P.C. we’ve handled hundreds of these appeals and understand the intricacies of the paperwork and how best to complete each form. We can note your appeal without you needing to come to court.
Once we’ve filed our appeal, you will be assigned a new court date in the Circuit Court. Depending on the court and your charge, there is a chance you may not even have to come back to court and we can handle the case in your absence.
Appealing with an Attorney
When your case is appealed, your case can be heard by a jury, or by a Circuit Court judge. The Circuit Court judges are a different group of judges than the original General District Court judges. Your appeal will be heard de novo, which means that it will be heard as if you’d never been to court before. It is essentially a total “do-over” on your initial case. Your attorney is critical here, as there are strict procedural and evidentiary rules in Circuit Court that your lawyer will know how to navigate.
Contact BernsteinHough, P.C. Today
If you find yourself in need of a reckless driving attorney and are unsure what to do to change the outcome of your case, we can help. Working with an attorney that focuses primarily in this field vastly improves your chances of a successful appeal. Contact BernsteinHough, P.C today to get a new start and move forward!