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Can I beat a reckless driving charge if the officer cited the wrong law section, and if so what would I say?

Williamsburg, VA |

I recently got a reckless speeding ticket, going 83 in a 65. After I got home I wanted to look up the charge and see what I was facing, but under Law Section the officer wrote 46-2-820, which is "Right-of-way at uncontrolled intersections, generally." This is not reckless speeding, which is 46-2-862. Shouldn't there be some accountability for the officer to know which law he is citing me for, and if so how would I go about telling a judge that?

Attorney Answers 2

  1. You should speak with an attorney licensed to practice in Virginia and experienced in criminal and traffic matters. I am not licensed in Virginia.

    That said, in Illinois the judge would simply allow the prosecuting attorney to amend the charge on its face, citing the proper section of the traffic code. Stated another way, in my jurisdiction the fact that the officer cited the wrong portion of the traffic code in issuing you a ticket would not amount to a defense to the charge.

    I suspect the same is true in Virginia.

    Reckless Driving is a serious charge, a conviction of which could adversly impact your driving privileges. A conviction might well cause your auto insurance premiums to rise.

    I urge you to consult with a Virginia lawyer about this matter as soon as possible.

    Disclaimer: The information contained in this answer is not legal advice, does not establish an attorney-client relationship and is offered for informational purposes only. Individuals with questions or problems in any area of the law should consult a qualified attorney licensed to practice in the individual's jurisdiction.

  2. The prosecution will either be allowed to amend the allegation or drop the case and obtain a warrant/summons from the magistrate.