Posted by Owen
I went to court in VA for a reckless by speed charge (87 in a 55). The incident occurred on a long (15 mile long) divided bridge with no other vehicles around late at night. I sped, but it was an empty highway for goodness sakes. Now I have a permanent criminal record, a 6 month license suspension and a fine of $491. Oh...and that other fine, $450 in legal fees. For $450 I basically got a guy in a suit quietly asking the judge if I could have a reduced charge. The guy didn't do any homework or preparation for my case. He didn't even bring up mitigating circumstances like fact that you don't have to worry about kids darting out in front of you on the bridge I was on, or that there were no other cars around to endanger at that time of night. He could have tossed out that I served 6 years in the air force and had an honorable discharge (I'm not above using that info if it means avoiding a permanent criminal record) or stressed that this was a case of someone driving a little to fast on a clear and straight limited access highway. None of that. I understand i was speeding, and badly, but that's it. No swerving, driving erratically or dodging through traffic Criminal record for driving in the 80's? In PA, my home state, traffic on the turnpike is often in the mid 70's and sometimes even in the 80's. Doesn't make what I did right, but it certainly should make what I did appear a lot less like something out of Hitler's biography, which is apparently how VA views people doing 80 mph. The best part was that after the hearing, Searcy said that he was happy that I avoided jail time. What a crock, the VA state code states that loss of liberty (jail) is a possibility for over 90 mph so I knew going in there was no chance of getting jail time. Basically I'm irked because besides speeding, I did everything right: got a lawyer, took a drivers course, had a clean driving record, showed up for court in a suit, was quiet and polite while my lawyer spoke to the judge and had plenty of mitigating circumstances (mentioned above) that should have been grounds to reduce the charge to "Improper Driving". I feel like I had all of this going for me but my lawyer didn't present the information well or at all and the judge slammed me with everything he could. I may have gotten the same end result, but for $450 I should be represented and I should have an advocate by my side, not just a suit. Extremely disappointed in Mr. Searcy's performance.