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Henrico County Reckless Driving Lawyer

A few years ago, the Virginia legislature changed how more serious moving violations are prosecuted and punished. A new classification of offenses was created, the “reckless driving” group, because they pose the “greatest threat to the public and to property.” And to prove their “get-tough” policy on reckless drivers, the statutes now come with punishments that involve a very large fines and the possibility of time in jail upon conviction. As such, the services of a Henrico County reckless driving lawyer can prove a valuable asset if you find yourself face-to-face with those harsh penalties.

If you are charged with reckless driving in Henrico County, it could be for one of over a dozen different moving violations [Virginia Criminal Code Section 46.2-852 – 63]. They typically fall into three general categories:

  • Excessive speed – which is probably the most common[Sections 46.2-861 and 46.2-862]. It can involve speeding of 20 mph over the speed limit, or 80 mph (or more) on any Virginia road or highway.
  • Dangerous driving – such as racing, improper signaling and several passing violations.
  • Failure to maintain control of a vehicle [Section 46.2-853] – which is called the “faulty brake” statute, but it can apply to any essential system that controls a vehicle that is in need of immediate repair

Reckless Driving Penalties in Henrico

Reckless driving is a class 1 misdemeanor. This brings a penalty of up to 12 months in jail, six months’ suspension of your Virginia driver’s license, and a fine of up to $2,500[Section 18.2-11(a)]. The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (VDMV) also imposes six demerit points against your driver’s license, where they remain for 11 years after sentencing. So, if you are convicted of another serious moving violation (or several less serious ones) over that period, preventing your license from being suspended for a time could prove difficult.Reckless Driving Attorney in Henrico County

If you are licensed in another state, the DMV will report the convictionto your home state. Even though there is no guarantee that your license will be suspended there, you still must pay the Virginia fine.

When a person is guilty of reckless driving without a valid driver’s license and causes a fatal accident, it’s a class 6 felony and comes with a sentence of one to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $2,500 . Also, if you’re convicted of reckless driving andoperating a handheld device, you will incur an additional statutory fine of $250 [Section 46.2-868(B)-(C)].

Reckless Driving Charges in Court

Virginia prosecutors and judges do have discretion in how reckless driving charges are handled. The actual penalty you can realistically expect from a conviction depends on the judge, the nature of the offense, and whether it’s your first violation. Some judges might not impose jail time for some reckless-driving speeding charges but assess a larger-than-usual fines and license suspensions.  There are number of possible penalties that a Court can impose on a reckless driving conviction, all of which can cause long-term damage to your driving record.

If you hope to have your case pleaded down prior to trial, you should retain a Henrico County reckless driving attorney to represent you. This is because it is against Commonwealth law for a prosecutor and defendant whose charges could result in serving a jail or prison sentence to have any contact with each other prior to appearing in court. But Henrico County reckless driving lawyers don’t have that problem. They commonly meet with prosecutors to discuss pending cases, and whether a plea bargain might bestserve both sides.

The Henrico County Court System

The Henrico General District Court (for the 14th Judicial District of Virginia) is located at 4301 East Parham Road in Henrico, between Broad Street and Staples Mill Road. Reckless driving cases are heard every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 9:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.

If you live in another part of the state, or there is another good reason why you can’t make your court date, you may be able to have a defense attorney appear in your place to defend you.

It’s then also possible for your lawyer to negotiate a plea agreement prior to trial, especially if you have a good driving record (and a few “positive” DMV points). Then it might be pleaded down to to improper driving [Section 46.2-869], which carries a maximum $500 fine or simple speeding which carries a maximum fine of $250.00 and reduced points