Reckless driving is a criminal charge in the state of Virginia, which makes it a first-class misdemeanor. First class misdemeanors come with a maximum fine of $2,500 and the possibility of jail time for up to 12 months. The first thing the driver should make sure of is that it’s actually a rash operation vehicle ticket and not a normal speeding ticket since there is a big difference between these two. Reckless driving means vehicle operating 20 miles per hour above the speed limit or more than 80 miles per hour. It is important for the driver to try his/her best to get rid of this ticket since it is a criminal offense and will be on the driver’s record as a felony.
The first step of getting rid of this ticket is to plead not guilty and hire a lawyer. It is advised to hire a lawyer because the traffic laws in Virginia are very complex and the vehicle operator will find it very challenging to represent his/her own case in court.
The following points are defenses that could be used if they are relevant to the situation:
- The device which is used to as a speed measuring tool by the police was not properly calibrated;
- Did the officer use his speed measuring equipment properly? These devices require special training, without this training the officer may write invalid reckless driving tickets;
- Acquiring a copy of the cop’s video footage when the vehicle operator was pulled over;
- If traveling with passengers, they can be used as witnesses and testify that the driver was driving safely and no time they felt they were in danger;
- The GPS of the driver’s car. If the GPS reading is accurate it can be used to identify the real speed the driver was driving at when the cop pulled him/her over; and
- The road or area the driver was driving in. Some areas the vehicle operator can’t be charged, like the following example. A school zone has signs stating that the speed limit is 35 miles per hour. But if argued properly to the judge that 35 miles per hour isn’t the legal limit for a school zone, it will lead to his honor to nullify the signs. The judge could rule the Commonwealth hadn’t met its duty of proving the speed limit and can dismiss this charge.
If the driver can’t fully get rid of a reckless driving ticket there are some factors which may allow for a reduced sentence or a reduced charge. These include:
- Having a clean driving record;
- Taking a driver education course; and
- An emergency situation that led to the driver driving recklessly.
If none of these defenses are applicable to the situation then the driver has no choice but to plead guilty, pay the fine, and serve the jail time if there is any.