Reckless driving is a higher level traffic infraction than careless driving, usually involving "wanton disregard" for driving laws and/or safety.
Fine Speeding in Fairfax is punished with a fine. The fine is usually $6 for every mile per hour over the speed limit the offender was driving. Sometimes, the fine can be increased, such as for speeding in work zones, school zones, and residential areas. The fine for Speeding in a highway work zone or school zone is $7 for every mile per hour over the speed limit the offender was driving, and the fine for speeding in a residential area is $8 for every mile per hour over the speed limit the offender was driving. The maximum fine for Speeding in Fairfax is generally $250. However, speeding in certain areas is punished with an increased maximum possible fine, such as speeding in a highway work zone, which can be punished with a fine as high as $500. The fine for speeding in Fairfax can be pre-paid, meaning the offender does not need to come to court. However, pre-paying the fine is an admission of guilt to the offense and as a result the offender will have a conviction for speeding on his driving record for several years. Pre-paying the fine will also result in automatic DMV demerit points and the number of points are based on the offender's speed. DMV Demerit Points If an offender is convicted of Speeding in Fairfax, the DMV will automatically add demerit points to his driving record. Demerit points are negative points, and accumulation of too many demerit points in a short period of time can lead to DMV-imposed penalties, including a mandatory driver improvement class, probation, and driver's license suspension. The DMV will add 3 demerit points for speeding 1-9 miles per hour over the speed limit. They will add 4 demerit points for speeding 10-19 miles per hour over the speed limit. Finally, they will add 6 demerit points for driving more than 20 miles per hour over the speed limit. An offender will be assessed DMV demerit points whether he is convicted in court for Speeding in Fairfax or whether he pre-pays the ticket. Criminal Conviction Speeding in Fairfax is usually charged as a traffic infraction, punished with a fine and automatic DMV points based on the driver's speed. However, sometimes Speeding in Fairfax can be charged as Reckless Driving, which is a crime, If a driver was driving more than 20 miles per hour over the posted speed limit or more than 80 miles per hour, regardless of the speed limit, he can be charged with Reckless Driving. Reckless Driving in Virginia is a Class 1 misdemeanor. It is punished with up to 12 months in jail, a fine up to $2,500, and driver's license suspension for up to 6 months. A conviction for Reckless Driving will remain on the offender's driving record for 11 years, but will remain on his criminal record permanently and can never be expunged.
As a former prosecutor, I worked on many Reckless and Careless Driving cases. The great majority of these cases were based on a ticket issued by a police officer, and rarely had a police report, statements or other evidence. Occasionally we may have had a video from the police cruiser or a private video recording from a residence or commercial property. There's a major difference between these two type of charges. In Michigan, Reckless Driving is a criminal misdemeanor punishable by 93 days in jail. It can also suspend your driver's license for 90 days and put six points on your driving record. This means potential increases in car insurance and depending on your driving record, it could trigger additional license sanctions. In contrast, Careless Driving is a civil infraction, which is not punishable by jail time, and does not alone suspend your license, but rather adds three points to your driving record. Let's start with the Reckless Driving. As a former prosecutor I typically only had a ticket with a charge on it; the lack of a police report put me in a tough situation to evaluate the case; I had to rely upon talking directly to the police officer about what happened. This differs from most other cases where I have a full file of information about the case. As a former prosecutor, I had a burden to prove my case if the case proceeded to trial. The burden of proof is the following beyond a reasonable doubt: "Willful or wanton disregard" means more than simple carelessness but does not require proof of an intent to cause harm. It means knowingly disregarding the possible risks to the safety of people or property. Careless Driving on the other hand requires the prosecution to prove you drove in a careless, imprudent or negligent manner. Reckless requires you intentionally drove in a certain manner, whereas Careless doesn’t look to your willful disregard but rather the results of your driving. As a former prosecutor, after speaking to the officer, I needed to decide the strength of my case. I would also look at the driving record of the charged person. Depending on the facts of the case, and the master driving record, I would be open to potentially working out a deal with the defense lawyer. Unfortunately it was rare that a criminal defense lawyer properly laid out the right justification to get the deal done. Having learned from the mistakes of others, I approach these type of cases in a very different manner. I start with that same ticket issued to my client, but then speak to the client about their version of the case. I understand that my client's version is likely skewed a bit toward a favorable version, and there is a middle ground to what actually happened, because the same applies to the cop; tickets are issued to prosecute. As a criminal defense lawyer I have to weigh the "asshole factor" of the case. Most cops will cut the driver a break and not issue a Reckless Driving ticket unless something was going on above and beyond the typical case. Was my client actually doing something a lot worse on the road, or did the cop just think my client was an asshole? We all drive on the same roads and we judge what people do around us. I've watched people do some crazy things on the road, and think "wow that person is an asshole". It's a quick judgment, but I don't have the full story; I don't know why that person is actually driving that way or where they are going. Same is true for the police officer. They may see my client driving for a 5-10 second clip and hit them with this serious offense. Cases can also be overcharge out on the road if the cop doesn't like my client for whatever reason. Issuing an overcharged ticket is more common in my experience than submitting a formal charge request to a prosecutor; less checks and balances involved. My client may have actually fit the parameters of one of these offenses at that moment, but should they suffer the long-term consequences because of that moment in time? I believe it's important to view the case outside the four corners of the ticket; the observation of that police officer is only a very small sample of who my client is within their community, family and in their career. It may also be cop vs client versions with no independent information offered to the defense and prosecution to weigh. I work with people who need to drive to survive, keep jobs, travel; I even work with many clients in the auto industry who test drive cars for a living! So what we do is better understand what was actually going on from my client's point of view then we work to take the "asshole factor" off the case. We also acknowledge the perception of our audience and put proactive steps in place to show that this case is a learning opportunity for the client, and a chance to be a better and safer driving going forward. This could mean a driver improvement class, safe driving course, community service, counseling etc. There is no limit to what we can put in place to change the perception of the client's case. If the cop thinks you're an asshole then he/she is going to relay those thoughts to the prosecutor who will not budge off the charge and invite a trial with a motivated cop on the stand to nail you on the charge. There is a path to keeping your sword away and building consensus in Reckless and Careless Driving cases in Michigan. If a case comes down to cop vs client, the client is going to struggle to win that trial with the trier of fact. The main goal is to avoid that confrontation and get the police officer to agree with our plan and get the prosecutor to agree. All cases are different, which provide unique challenges, but everyone involved has a degree of common sense, and reaching a consensus which matches your goals is the ultimate outcome for a client going to court on a serious charge.
Speeding People speed for a variety of reasons - they may be late to an appointment, or are tired after a long day, or perhaps they are just impatient by nature. Whatever the case may be, if you drive every day, you have broken the speed limit at one time or another. But in Virginia, if you drive above 80 mph, you can be charged with reckless driving. If this happens, you are going to want to call a Fairfax reckless driving lawyer with the skills to help you avoid a criminal conviction for what should be nothing more than a speeding ticket. Defenses to Speeding Your Fairfax reckless driving lawyer can assert a number of possible defenses which are mostly predicated on questioning the accuracy of the tactics or methods used to clock your speed. A few brief examples of the defenses your Fairfax reckless driving lawyer can use include: Radar Inaccuracy: Sometimes, a Fairfax reckless driving lawyer may be able to call the radar readings into question if they are able to find a possibility of improper calibration. Speedometer Malfunction: It is not entirely unlikely that a vehicle speedometer is inaccurate or malfunctioning. Your Fairfax reckless driving lawyer may be able to help you find a certified mechanic who will determine whether your speedometer was improperly calibrated or suffered a malfunction. Drag Racing Charges of reckless driving on account of drag racing are taken extremely seriously. Pursuant to Virginia Code ? 46.2-865, it is a crime to engage in racing while on a public road or highway, school, church, business, or recreational area. If you are charged with this form of reckless driving, you are going to want to hire a reputable Fairfax reckless driving lawyer who can help you avoid a possible 6-month license suspension and/or jail time. Drag Racing Reckless Driving May be Charged as a Felony: If a person is injured because of someone's reckless driving, that person will face a Class 6 felony punishable by one to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $2,500. If someone dies, then the penalty is one to 20 years in prison with a mandatory minimum of one year. If you are convicted of felony reckless driving, you face a driver's license suspension for one to three years. Worst of all, if convicted, your car will be seized and sold. Defenses to Drag Racing There are myriad defenses your Fairfax reckless driving lawyer can assert to help you obtain the best outcome possible in your reckless driving case. One very common defense is that there must be two people involved in the race. If you pull up to a stop light and start revving your engine at the old man driving the Ferrari next to you, and you speed off when the light turns green, but the other driver does not partake in racing you, then you cannot be charged with this form of reckless driver. Drag racing requires a race. Two or more people must have been racing, but if one party was not racing, there can be no conviction. Most drag racing allegations are predicated solely on eyewitness accounts. As such, you will want to hire a Fairfax reckless driving lawyer who can help pinpoint inconsistencies of eyewitness accounts and call into question any adverse witness' ability to remember. Failing to Maintain Control Sometimes, officers charge a person for reckless driving simply because they believe that person caused a serious accident. When property is damaged or an injury occurs, law enforcement can jump to conclusions and wrongly assume that you were driving recklessly. The problem is that injury or property damage is not conclusive of reckless driving. Indeed, people sometimes are careless, or are distracted, or try to avoid an accident with another car, or are simply human and make a miscalculation. Your Fairfax reckless driving lawyer can obtain all the facts and help explain why you were not driving recklessly, but that you made a very unfortunate miscalculation. There is a separate statute for failing to maintain control of a vehicle which charges a violation of that statute as reckless driving. See Virginia Code ? 46.2-853. Under this subsection of Virginia's reckless driving statute, it is a crime to drive a car that is not under proper control or that has faulty brakes. A good Fairfax reckless driving lawyer will be able to explain why, even if your circumstances appear to fall under this statute, you still may be able to have the charges dismissed. What I can say is that in my time as a Fairfax reckless driving lawyer, I seldom see "failing to maintain control" being charged on account of mechanical failure. However, if you neglected to tend to your vehicle or visit your car mechanic, and the loss of control was a result of your failure to safely take care of your vehicle, your Fairfax reckless driving lawyer may be able to have the charge lowered to a traffic infraction. Whether this is possible depends on your previous driving record, the skill of your Fairfax reckless driving lawyer, and a host of other factors. Most times, if this is the statute under which you were charged, your Fairfax reckless driving lawyer will be able to help you avoid a conviction or fines. Defenses to Failing to Maintain Control Failing to maintain control applies to situations where a person's own carelessness, recklessness, or negligence caused them to lose control of their vehicle. In these sorts of situations, the officer learns about what occurred through eyewitness accounts, but as a Fairfax reckless driving lawyer, I know how eyewitness testimony can be inherently unreliable. This is particularly true with car accidents - where the true nature of the incident goes far beyond simple observation, but into complicated and technical matters of mathematics, physics, and mechanics. It is very typical for people see a car accident and believe the accident to be one person's fault but, upon further investigation, the other person is ultimately found to be at fault. Driving w/ an Overloaded Vehicle Maybe you are moving, or dumping old furniture off at the local dump, or perhaps you recently purchased a new big screen television and think you can fit it inside the backseat of your car. After loading it up, you realize the item is blocking your ability to see out your rearview mirror. You think to yourself that it isn't a far drive and you'll be able to make it home without incident. However, on the drive home, the police pull you over and ticket you with reckless driving. As a Fairfax reckless driving lawyer, I can categorically tell you that this form of reckless driving is generally one where the driver had very little, if any, reckless intent. But the law holds that you can be charged with reckless driving if items being carried inside your vehicle obstruct your view to the front, sides, or back of your vehicle or somehow interfere with your ability to control the vehicle. If you have been charged with reckless driving as a result of an overloaded vehicle, contact a Fairfax reckless driving lawyer who can help you have the charges dismissed or, if you have a good driving history, have the charges lowered to a non-criminal offense. You have defenses and you have rights and a simple mistake or oversight regarding the rules of the road should not result in a criminal charge - particularly if no one was hurt or injured. Driving at an Unreasonable Speed Driving at an unreasonable speed can be charged even when a person is driving under the speed limit. One of the most common question a Fairfax reckless driving lawyer will get when it comes to this form of reckless driving is "What or when is a person's speed unreasonable?" A good example would be a person driving 55 mph in a blizzard who then slides into another vehicle causing an accident. Logic would dictate that, but for that person's "unreasonable speed", the accident would not have occurred. The problem is, whether someone's speed is viewed as reasonable or unreasonable is matter left to the police officer who has pulled you over. People often worry that a police officer can find someone's speed to be unreasonable under any condition if they so please. But the reality is that driving 65 mph on a sunny summer Sunday when no one else is on the highway cannot legitimately be charged as reckless driving. The police have to be reasonable in their own right when determining whether to issue this sort of ticket. If you have been charged with this form of reckless driving, you should contact a Fairfax reckless driving lawyer. When you contact a Fairfax reckless driving lawyer, you will have someone on you side who will be able to create reasonable doubt abour whether your speed was actually "unreasonable." Juries are not quick to convict someone of engaging in behavior which they have possibly engaged in many times themselves. And if an officer tickets you for a dubious reason, the case will either be dismissed or you will not be found guilty. If you are apprehensive about going to trial, then there is always a possibility that your Fairfax reckless driving lawyer will be able to negotiate down to a lower charge. Reckless Driving in a Parking Lot My experience as a Fairfax reckless driving lawyer has crystallized when this form of reckless driving is generally charged, and it is typically when someone is engaged in sophomoric activity like doing doughnuts or peeling out in a parking lot when it is full of people. If a person was to engage in this activity when no one else is around, then that cannot be charged with this form of reckless driving. Your Fairfax reckless driving lawyer will be able to help you if you charged with this form of reckless driving because whether your actions actually caused, or were likely to cause, danger to others is a somewhat nebulous standard which is entirely left up to the discretion of the charging officer. As such, the reasonableness of the officer's standard of "dangerousness" can always be called into question. Hiring a knowledgeable and skilled Fairfax reckless driving lawyer is the best first step you can take after being charged with this particular form of reckless driving. Passing a School Bus In Virginia, it is considered reckless driving to pass a stopped school bus which is letting off children. When a bus is letting off children, traffic in both directions must stop unless there is a median in the road. In this case, drivers heading in the opposite direction do not need to stop. Many people believe this law is not practical and that there is nothing reckless about slowly and carefully passing by a school bus letting children off. However, the Virginia legislature, for the most part, institutes rules of reasons. The reality is, enough children were either killed or injured that the Commonwealth felt it prudent to designate passing a bus as "reckless driving." If you have been accused of reckless driving for this reason, your Fairfax reckless driving lawyer will be able to provide you a number of options. Sometimes, your Fairfax reckless driving lawyer will be able to negotiate the charge down to a non-criminal offense, while other times you may want to take your case to trial. Defenses to Passing a School Bus A good Fairfax reckless driving lawyer will understand the defensive nuances to this particular form of reckless driving. Importantly, the bus cannot simply be any old bus; it must be yellow, have emergency lights, and it must have "School Bus" written on the front and back of the vehicle. If the bus does not meet these specifications, then you cannot be charged with reckless driving. Any Fairfax reckless driving lawyer will tell you that there have been cases where the driver of the bus failed to use their emergency lights and, as a result, the defendant could not be convicted of reckless driving. With that said, it takes a skilled and knowledgeable Fairfax reckless driving lawyer to assert these defenses in manner which can best help you obtain the best possible outcome in your reckless driving case. Passing an Emergency Vehicle You can be charged with reckless driving if you pass an emergency vehicle if its siren is on and its lights are flashing. This could be law enforcement, a fire truck, or an ambulance. Some people believe that simply failing to yield or stop for an emergency vehicle can result in reckless driving, but failing to stop is its own separate traffic offense. Defenses to Passing an Emergency Vehicle I'll give it to you straight: Passing an emergency vehicle is dumb, but getting caught doing it is even dumber. Whatever your reasons for passing an emergency vehicle, if you get caught, it's a crime, and you will need a Fairfax reckless driving lawyer who will be able to possibly help you get a deal to plead guilty to a lower charge. There are few legitimate defenses to this charge if a police officer witnesses you passing an emergency vehicle. One of the first things we learn in driver's ed is to pull over when you hear sirens or see flashing lights. Whatever rush you may be in, it is always unwise to overtake an emergency vehicle while driving. Just don't do it. Passing at a Railroad Crossing Most drivers have witnessed someone slowing down before crossing railroad tracks to ensure that they are safe from oncoming trains. Railway guards have been around since the mid-nineteenth century, but they became much more prevalent after the advent of the automobile. These guard crossings are almost always effective and in working order, and we typically see only school buses or other large vehicles stop before crossing railroad tracks. However, in Virginia, considers it reckless driving to pass a vehicle that has slowed down before crossing railroad tracks. Defenses to Passing at a Railroad Crossing My experience as a Fairfax reckless driving lawyer obligates me to inform you that there are not many defenses to this particular version of reckless driving, and, let's face it, if you get caught in the act by law enforcement, you should have been paying better attention to your surroundings. However, if the road has two or more lanes in each direction, and you pass by entering the other lane, that is not reckless driving. Likewise, if there is a marked zone to pass the slowing vehicle, that too is a legitimate defense. Finally, if it is one way street, you are able to pass the slowing vehicle as well. Essentially, this law is one of reason: It seeks to prevent people on a one-lane highway traveling in each direction from driving into oncoming traffic merely to pass a slowing vehicle. Although this form of reckless driving may seem useless or antiquated, I can assure that in my time as a Fairfax reckless driving lawyer, all laws on the books related to reckless driving are rules of reason. Passing Two Abreast Vehicles A driver can be charged with reckless driving when a person attempts to pass two vehicles by swerving into lanes designated for oncoming traffic. In my practice as a Fairfax reckless driving lawyer, I am often asked what if the road has three lanes and two cars are driving next to one another. The answer is that a highway with three or more lanes provides an exception to the aforementioned rule. Likewise, there are additional defenses your Fairfax reckless driving lawyer can assert including that you reckless driving laws don't apply to passing a bicycle or moped. If you have been charged with reckless driving for swerving into a lane designated for oncoming traffic with the intention of passing two vehicles driving next to each other, then you are going to need an aggressive, knowledgeable, and skilled Fairfax reckless driving lawyer who understands the possible defenses you may have while also being capable of negotiating the reckless driving charges down to a minor traffic infraction. Failure to Yield When Merging onto a Highway When we are taught how to drive, we learn that the best way to enter a highway is to speed up to the flow of traffic so that we can smoothly merge onto the highway without causing those behind us to slam on their brakes. However, according to Virginia Code ? 46.2-863, it is considered reckless driving to enter a highway without yielding to approaching vehicles within 500 feet of you. Although I have rarely seen this type of violation in my time as a Fairfax reckless driving lawyer, it does indeed happen on occasion. The problem is, if you are ticketed for this particular form of reckless driving, it is because law enforcement likely witnessed you causing a near accident by failing to yield when merging onto a highway. Failing to Give a Proper Signal Although it doesn't happen very often, a person could be charged with reckless driving for failing to adequately giving a signal of their intention to turn. If you are charged with this form of reckless driving, your Fairfax reckless driving lawyer will likely be able to get the charges dropped unless your failure to signal was accompanied by you violently cutting another motorist off in traffic and nearly causing an accident. Standing alone, failing to signal is generally not indicative - legally or otherwise - of recklessness.
Reckless Driving in Virginia In Virginia. Reckless Driving is a Class 1 Misdemeanor and in punishable by up to 12 months in jail, a $2,500 fine, and a 6-month driver's license suspension. Reckless driving can be proven in many different ways as well. General driving behavior that endangers life, limb, or property, driving with faulty brakes, passing on a curve, passing at the crest of a grade, passing a stopped school bus, driving with an obstructed view, passing at railroad tracks, failing to give proper signals, and excessive speed (20 + MPH over the posted speed limit or over 80 MPH) are all ways that reckless driving can be proven by the prosecutors in Virginia. You got a Reckless Driving citation - what to do next? The first thing you need to do after getting a Reckless Driving citation is put the court date in your calendar. Because Reckless Driving is a Class 1 misdemeanor, you cannot pre-pay the fine and avoid going to court. You are required to show up to court. If you fail to show up, there can be serious consequences, including additional criminal charges. Get a copy of your driving record After receiving a ticket for Reckless Driving, you should obtain a copy of your driving record from the Virginia DMV (or your licensing state's equivalent). This will help you and your attorney see what, if any, traffic violations you have had in the past. Many prosecutors will not negotiate these charges with your attorney unless a copy of your record is available - it's better to have one yourself than trust the law enforcement officer to provide it for you. If you are a Virginia-licensed driver, you can do this by going to your local DMV location and asking for your record, or you can submit the request online. There is a nominal fee for the record. Take a Traffic Safety Course Next, you should sign up to take an 8-hour Traffic Safety class through a Virginia DMV-approved driving school. A list of schools is available on the Virginia DMV website. Some driving schools offer the class online as well, which may be a more convenient option depending on your individual circumstances. At the end of the course, you will have to take and pass a test. Once you pass the test, you will receive a completion certificate and +5 points on your driving record. Make sure to hold on to that certificate for your attorney, that way he or she can put it to use. Take another class In some cases, depending on the severity of the driving behavior, it is important to take an additional driving class focused on reckless and aggressive driving behavior. This is a 4-hour course and is widely available at Virginia DMV-approved traffic schools. Get your speedometer calibrated In cases involving excessive speed, it is important to have your speedometer calibrated. If your speedometer is inaccurate that could affect your level of responsibility and it can even prevent the prosecutor from proving guilt in some circumstances. Community service In some cases, performing some community service hours prior to attending court can be an effective way for you to mitigate any punishment you may receive, or it may convince the judge or prosecutor to reduce your charge from a reckless driving to a simple traffic offense. Talk to a traffic defense attorney! Reckless Driving is a serious offense in Virginia. You should absolutely consult with a local criminal/traffic defense attorney about your case. Hiring an attorney can help in a number of ways. First, your attorney can make sure that you're doing everything you need to do in preparation for the case. Second, your attorney can negotiate with the prosecutor to reduce the charge from Reckless Driving to a simple traffic infraction that does not carry the possibility of jail time or a license suspension and does not show up on your record as a misdemeanor offense. Finally, your attorney can evaluate your case from a legal perspective and find any potential legal or technical defenses, which could dismiss the case entirely.
1. Speed Speed alone may or may not be reckless driving. Look at the circumstances. High speeds in residential areas certainly can be reckless. High speeds in inclement weather, too, may be reckless. High speed combined with other unlawful driving movements such as following too close, failing to signal lane changes, or failure to obey traffic control devices, too, may be reckless driving. 2. Passing Passing traffic when there is a lane sight distance restriction (a solid yellow line on the reckless driver's side of the road) is considered reckless driving. 3. Darkness Driving at night or low-light conditions without the use of lights may be considered reckless driving. Conclusion When you encounter a reckless driver the best and safest thing to do is to do all that you can to avoid and stay away from the reckless driver. Do not try to take matters into your own hands by yelling at them, cutting them off, pulling in front of them, trying to slow them down, or approaching them once stopped. Be a good witness! Get accurate information such as location of offense, description of the driver, number of vehicle occupants, vehicle identifying information such as make, model, color, year and license plate, and direction of travel. By providing accurate, clear and specific information, you make it easier for law enforcement to identify the vehicle and driver and hopefully locate them before harm, injury or accident occurs.
What is Reckless Driving? VTL 1212 defines Reckless Driving as driving or using any motor vehicle, motorcycle or any other vehicle propelled by any other power other than muscular power or any appliance or accessory thereof in a manner which unreasonably endangers users of the public highway. Reckless driving is prohibited. A conviction for Reckless Driving in New York is a misdemeanor. Fines can reach $300. You also will receive 5 points on your driving record. How does a cop determine what is Reckless Driving vs Dangerous Driving? It is within the Police Officer's discretion whether to issue a summons for Reckless Driving or Dangerous Driving. What Happens If I receive a Summons for Dangerous Driving? The officer will issue a yellow summons for Dangerous Driving and the hearing will be at an NYC Traffic Violations Bureau. A conviction carries two (2) points and a minimum fine of $138. Traffic Violations Bureau will hear these cases. What Happens if I receive a Summons for Reckless Driving? If you receive a Reckless Driving summons, the officer will issue a pink ticket. The summons is returnable to New York City Summons Parts. They are located at 346 Broadway (NYC), 120 Schermerhorn Street (Brooklyn), 125-01 Queens Blvd (Queens), 215 East 161st Street (Bronx) and 26 Central Ave (Staten Island). In New York, Reckless driving is a misdemeanor and this offense will go on your record. There also could be possible jail time; 30 days for the first offense, 90 days for the second and 130 for a third offense.