What Should I Expect From a Reckless Driving Charge in Richmond?

Unlike your basic traffic violation, reckless driving is a serious charge that stays on your criminal record. With this in mind, it’s important that those charged seek the counsel of an experienced Richmond reckless driving lawyer so they can minimize the harm of their reckless driving charge.

Below are some frequently asked questions regarding reckless driving cases in Richmond and what one should expect after being charged with reckless driving.

What Should Someone Expect From Their Reckless Driving Case?

You’ll receive a summons to appear in court and will be required to appear on a reckless driving unlike most of the tickets where you can just prepay.  You cannot prepay a reckless driving ticket, you need to be there.

In addition to that, if the case again is an aggravated one where there’s alcohol involved, where there’s an accident where injuries are involved and/or there’s a very high speed, the courts may seek an arraignment for you. The arraignment process would be where you appear before the court, the court advises you of your right to an attorney and advises you, due to the severity of your charge, that a jail sentence is possible. At your arraignment you can see if you qualify for court-appointed counsel or advise the Court you wish to retain your own attorney and then you will come back for a later trial.

What Should They be Prepared For?

The primary thing to be prepared for is that there are a wide variety of possible penalties.  So they need to be prepared for a possible license suspension, possible high fines and the possibility of jail depending on the facts of the case.  In addition you have to be prepared for the insurance implications or increases which could come later.

In particular, if the individual drives for work, their insurance rates are going to be increased dramatically. Where it is particularly painful is if someone has a CDL.  A CDL licensed driver who received a reckless driving conviction will almost definitely lose their CDL privileges.

What Does The Prosecution Need to Prove in a Reckless Driving Case?

Typically what they’re going to do is really rely on the officer’s testimony and radar if it is a speed issue. The officer will testify as to what they witnessed that day, where they were, in other words were they on the side of the highway running radar, or did they observe accidents, did they observe the driving, or did they come upon an accident. What the prosecutors will then present is the officer’s testimony as to any statements that were made by the defendant.

Next, in speed cases, they will present the radar calibrations. The Officer must show  that the radar is calibrated within six months of the stop. They have to show that it was checked with a tuning fork before and after the officer’s shift. If it’s a case where the officer paces someone, then they need to bring the calibrations for the vehicle, to show that the vehicle’s speedometer was running accurately on that day.

What Are Some of The Most Common Misconceptions About Reckless Driving Charges in Virginia?

The most common misconception I see is people treat it like just any other ticket. They think they can just pay it and they don’t realize the penalty and the implications of getting a conviction for that ticket.

We see a lot of cases where people just don’t show up in court and then they get convicted of it and they realize that it is a class 1 misdemeanor. Reckless driving is not just normal traffic ticket, it’s a criminal offense and it needs to be treated as such.