Reckless Driving Defense: How to Help Your Attorney
If you have been stopped by a police officer and accused of reckless driving, there are many steps you can take to help your attorney defend you against the charges in the long run. Determining the correct steps to take depends on the unique facts of your case, including your prior driving history and the facts underlying the cause of your arrest.
What Can I Do To Help My Attorney Defend Me Against A Reckless Driving Charge?
There are several things that you can do to help your lawyer present your case to the Commonwealth’s Attorney and to the General District Court Judge. After talking to an experienced criminal and traffic lawyer, they may recommend that you take some or all of the following actions.
Get a copy of your driving record.
First, obtain a copy of your driving record from the state where you are licensed. After reviewing your driving record, your attorney can provide you with a more accurate assessment of what risks you may face in court and what difficulties may prevent a successful resolution of your case. For instance, if you have multiple speeding tickets or a prior DUI or Reckless Driving conviction, the battle would be more uphill than if you had a perfect record.
If recommended by your lawyer, have your vehicle’s speedometer calibrated.
Not everyone should do this without talking to an attorney first. If you choose The Gordon Law Firm to be your reckless driving lawyers, they will direct you to automobile mechanics that have “dynamometers”. A dynamometer is like a treadmill for a car. The trained mechanic runs the speed from 10 to 65 mph or more and compares what the dynamometer reads to what your vehicle’s speedometer is telling you, the driver. The dynamometers at the locations that we recommend are calibrated and the operators provide sworn statements that are admissible in court.
But your car is brand new.. or a Toyota .. or a Lexus … or a BMW … or a Porsche. We are attorneys, not mechanics. We cannot explain why our attorneys have helped reckless driving clients with brand new cars that have been tested with a dynamometer and have calibrations that show that the speedometer reads 7 mph different that the car’s actual speed. Maybe the tires on the car are not the same size as the tires that were on the vehicle when they left the factory. Maybe Jim in Ohio, Lee in Japan, or Franz in Germany had a bad day at the manufacturing plant.
All we know is that after helping more than 500 people for Reckless Driving charges in 2007, sometimes a speedometer calibration can help our clients in court a great deal. This is especially true if you are accused of traveling above 81 mph and is definitely recommended if you are accused of exceeding 90 mph.
If recommended by your attorney, take a driver improvement course.
Again, a reckless driving attorney may not recommend this step unless you have a bad driving record. Each person’s situation is different. Virginia’s point system for traffic violations is radically different from most states. For instance, all moving traffic violations result in either 3, 4, or 6 demerit points being placed by the Virginia DMV upon your Virginia driving record. Those points are much higher than those assessed in all of the surrounding states. Virginia offsets these high negative point values with the opportunity to earn good points for good driving behavior or for taking a driver improvement program. Each year you drive without getting a traffic violation, one positive point is added to your Virginia DMV record. The maximum amount of positive points you can achieve is +5, the best driving record in Virginia. You may also take a certified driver improvement program voluntarily and add 5 points. These classes are even offered online. However, you can only take the driver improvement program once every two years and you can never exceed a +5 driving record.
At extremely high speeds, or if you have a really bad driving record, our attorneys may recommend that you complete an advanced driver improvement course through the Virginia Alcohol Safety Awareness Program.
Again talk to a lawyer first. The attorneys of The Gordon Law Firm will advise you how to maximize the benefit of taking a driver improvement course either before your court hearing or to help your driving record in the long run.
If you have a driver’s license from another state, much of the above information may not apply to your state’s DMV records. Again, we will advise you how to best proceed to try to increase your chances for a positive result in court.
Protect Your Rights
If you have been charged with reckless driving, protect your rights by contacting a lawyer. There are many ways a lawyer may be able to help in your case. In some cases, attorneys are able to convince prosecutors to accept a plea agreement in which a defendant enters a plea to a lesser charge such as “improper driving.”
Unlike reckless driving, improper driving is not a misdemeanor. The maximum penalty for improper driving is a $500 fine and it results in three demerit points as opposed to six.
Learn More About Reckless Driving Charges in Virginia
To learn more about reckless driving charges, please visit any of the following pages on this Web site: