Most traffic infractions in Virginia risk only moderate consequences. People must pay a fine, which is the equivalent of pleading guilty to a traffic infraction. Their ticket could then affect what they pay for insurance and may also put them at risk of losing their license.
Many people simply absorb those losses because they view fighting back against a traffic infraction as a waste of time. Those accused of more serious traffic infractions may have an easier time seeing the value in fighting the allegations that they face. For example, reckless driving is a criminal offense, not just a traffic ticket. It can lead to a criminal record and other significant consequences if someone pleads guilty or gets convicted. These are some of the ways that those facing such charges start to craft a solid legal defense.
Virginia has a very broad reckless driving statute that applies to many different driving scenarios. For example, traveling at more than 20 miles an hour over the posted speed limit is reckless driving, as is exceeding the speed of 85 mph. There could potentially be an explanation for why someone engaged in those behaviors that could help them avoid a conviction in criminal court. Someone rushing to the hospital after receiving notice that there is an organ transplant available for their child may receive a bit more lenience from the courts than someone who was simply late for work, for example.
Challenging the police officer’s story
Reckless driving cases often come down to a police officer’s belief about the situation. They think that someone drove in a way that indicates a reckless disregard for the safety of others, but the driver feels differently about the situation. Perhaps someone has a dashboard camera installed in their vehicle that shows they didn’t actually do what the officer thinks they did or that what seemed reckless from outside the vehicle seemed reasonable given the driver’s perspective in the moments prior to their encounter with police. From questioning the accuracy of the speed reported by the officer to reframing their narrative, there are many ways in which someone can challenge the way that authorities view the situation.
A careful review of the state’s evidence and an understanding of Virginia’s reckless driving statutes are often integral to successful defense efforts. And ultimately, seeking legal guidance in order to receive personalized feedback can significantly help people determine the most effective way to fight against reckless driving allegations as well.