Brunswick County Reckless Driving Defense Lawyer
Were you cited for reckless driving in Brunswick County, Virginia? If so, you might have discovered that reckless driving is a serious crime under Virginia law. In fact, if you are convicted of reckless driving, you could face jail or prison time and substantial fines.
A Brunswick County reckless driving defense lawyer can help you avoid the worst outcomes from a reckless driving charge.
Don’t leave your case to chance. Reach out to Upton Law, PLLC, now for an honest, straightforward case review. It is free for you to learn more about how Brunswick County reckless driving defense attorney Samantha Upton can defend your interests and help you seek the best possible outcome to your reckless driving charge.
What Does It Mean to Drive Recklessly?
Virginia classifies the offense of reckless driving as a crime rather than a traffic offense. Many drivers don’t realize that they face criminal charges, as police may issue a paper citation for a reckless driving charge rather than arresting and booking a driver.
Virginia Code §46.2-852 defines reckless driving as driving “a vehicle on any highway recklessly or at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person.” A driver may be considered to have operated their vehicle in a “reckless” manner when they consciously disregard the substantial risk that their behavior may cause severe injury or death.
The statute defines specific behaviors as constituting reckless driving, including:
- Driving 20 mph or more over the speed limit
- Driving faster than 85 mph regardless of the speed limit
- Operating a vehicle that the driver does not have proper control over, including having inadequate or improperly adjusted brakes
- Passing on a curve or approaching the crest of a hill where a driver’s view is obstructed
- Driving with an obstructed view
- Failing to give a timely and adequate signal of an intention to turn, slow down, or stop
- Street racing
However, any behaviors on the road that a law enforcement officer deems endanger the safety of others may result in a reckless driving charge.
Penalties for Reckless Driving in Brunswick County
Unlike other traffic offenses that may result only in fines, a conviction for reckless driving may result in jail time and fines because it is considered a criminal offense. Reckless driving is a Class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia. A conviction carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a fine of $2,500.
A reckless driving charge may be upgraded to a Class 6 felony if the driver had a suspended or revoked driver’s license due to a moving violation, or if the driver caused an accident that resulted in someone else’s death. Class 6 felony convictions may result in the same penalties as a Class 1 misdemeanor, or the court may choose to impose enhanced penalties of one to five years’ imprisonment.
In addition to incarceration and penalties, a reckless driving conviction will also result in demerit points on the driver’s record. Reckless driving carries a penalty of four to six points, depending on the case’s specifics. Accumulating 12 points within 12 months results in a mandatory obligation to attend a driver improvement class. Accruing 18 points within 12 months or 24 points within 24 months results in an automatic license suspension.
Potential Defenses to a Reckless Driving Charge
As a criminal charge, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you engaged in the reckless operation of a motor vehicle. That means that you may have legal or factual defenses available in your case.
Potential defenses to a reckless driving charge include:
- Challenging the reliability of the citing officer’s radar device or police cruiser speedometer may allow you to argue that you were not driving at a speed that constituted reckless driving.
- The citing officer did not observe the allegedly reckless driving behavior. Some officers choose to cite a driver at fault for an auto accident for reckless driving. But simply causing an accident is not sufficient evidence of reckless driving. The absence of eyewitness testimony may allow you to argue for an acquittal on your reckless driving charge.
- You were facing an emergency, such as speeding to rush yourself or someone else to the hospital.
How Does a Reckless Driving Offense Impact Car Insurance?
If a driver is convicted of reckless driving, it can also impact car insurance premiums. A driver who has engaged in reckless driving behavior poses a greater financial risk to an auto insurer. As a result, an insurer may choose to increase the policy premiums of a driver who has been convicted of reckless driving. The insurer may also decide to decline to renew the driver’s policy at the end of the term, or they may immediately cancel the policy if permitted under the terms of the policy.
How a Brunswick County Reckless Driving Lawyer Can Help You
If you have been charged with reckless driving, let a Brunswick County reckless driving lawyer from Upton Law, PLLC, help you fight back against your charges by:
- Reviewing your charges with you and helping you understand your legal rights, defense options, and potential and likely outcomes in your case
- Independently investigating your charges to secure the evidence needed to build an effective defense strategy
- Challenging the state’s case, including moving to dismiss the evidence as unreliable or moving to dismiss or reduce your charge for lack of evidence
- Negotiating for a reduction of your charge or a less severe penalty, if appropriate
- Advocating in your defense at trial if you choose to contest your charge
With Upton Law, PLLC, in your corner, all the details of preparing and pursuing your defense are taken off your shoulders, which can offer significant benefits, particularly if you are from another state and were charged with reckless driving while driving in Virginia.
Contact a Brunswick County Reckless Driving Defense Attorney Today
If you are facing a reckless driving charge in Brunswick County, contact us online or call Upton Law, PLLC, today for a free, confidential consultation. Attorney Samantha Upton is ready to discuss your legal options.