A reckless driving charge is very serious and the consequences may be steep fines and possibly jail time. If you find yourself with a reckless driving charge, get in touch with a lawyer immediately. Many moving violations that may put other lives in danger can be considered reckless driving and will require you to appear in court, therefore good representation is important.
Different types of reckless driving will result in various sentences. Reckless driving charges include:
- Driving 20 mph or over the speed limit are likely to be charged with reckless driving.
- Passing a school bus
- Passing an emergency vehicle
- Driving too fast in poor weather conditions
- Driving faster than 80 miles per hour
If you injure another driver or pedestrian while driving recklessly, the charges will be more severe. First time offenders in some states may be charged with a lesser sentence but that is at the judge’s discretion. For repeat offenders the sentence may be more severe.
No matter what type of reckless driving you committed, the charge will show on your driver’s permanent record. There are several consequences associated with a reckless driving conviction. They include:
- Insurance premiums will rise and you risk being canceled by your insurance provider
- If your occupation involves driving, the reckless driving conviction may cause you to lose your job.
- Your security clearance may be in jeopardy. If you are seeking a security clearance, you may be denied.
- You likely will have to pay a large fine
- You may have to serve jail time
- Your driver’s license may be suspended or you may lose your driving privileges altogether
- It may affect your ability to get a job, apply for a mortgage or loan
You do have a few options when facing a reckless driving charge. You can decide to go ahead and pay the ticket. This is not a good idea, because admitting guilt without talking to an attorney automatically gives you a reckless driving conviction, which then appears on your permanent driving record, and all the consequences listed above.
Representing yourself is not really a good option either. Judges are wise to all the excuses and have heard every story in the book. Judges do not want excuses.
Do not ignore the ticket and not show up for court. You will automatically be found guilty and you cannot do anything about the verdict.
The smartest idea is to hire an attorney to fight for your best interests. In some states, if you have a lawyer represent you, you do not need to be present in court. In fact, your attorney may not even want you to be there.
There are several actions that you can take to assist your lawyer in representing you for your reckless driving charge:
- Obtain a certified copy of your driving record from the DMV
- Take your car to a mechanic that is certified to issue you a calibration certificate. This is required for court. It is recommended this be done as soon as possible
- Attend and complete a driver improvement clinic. This shows the judge you are taking this charge seriously and are being proactive in improving your driving habits.
- Statements from anyone traveling with you who can say you were not driving recklessly and they felt you were driving safe
- Perform community service
Selecting a Fairfax, Virginia criminal defense lawyer that is experienced in handling reckless driving charges can help you get through the complicated court process.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at Dave Albo – Attorney for their knowledge about criminal defense and reckless driving charges.