Newport News Reckless Driving Lawyer

If you are charged with reckless driving in Newport News, it could be for one of over a dozen different moving violations (Virginia Criminal Code Section 46.2-852 – 863). These are viewed as the greatest threats to driver and passenger safety, the well-being of others in general, and the property of others (Section 46.2-852). A Newport News reckless driving lawyer likely has experience defending against various types of reckless driving charges.

Common Reckless Driving Charges in Newport News

They typically fall into three general categories:

Newport News Reckless Driving Lawyers Handle These Cases

The entire group of reckless driving offenses includes:

  • Driving over 80 MPH – or – 20 MPH over posted speed limits
  • Passing a stopped, properly equipped school bus
  • Overtaking or passing an emergency vehicle
  • Racing
  • Improper brakes, or vehicle otherwise not under proper control
  • Driving too fast for highway and traffic conditions
  • Passing on or at the crest of a grade or on a curve
  • Driving with driver’s view obstructed or control impaired
  • Passing another vehicle at a railroad grade crossing
  • Failing to give proper signals
  • Failure to yield right-of-way when merging onto highway
  • Passing two vehicles abreast
  • Driving two abreast in a single lane

Reckless Driving Penalties in Newport News

Reckless driving is a class 1 misdemeanor. This brings a penalty of up to 12 months in jail, six months’ suspension of your Virginia driver’s license, and a fine of up to $2,500 (Section 18.2-11(a)).  And you will have six points against your Virginia driver’s license for 11 years after sentencing.

If you are licensed in another state, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will report the conviction – and sentence – to that state. And though there is no guarantee that your license will be suspended in your home state, you still must pay the fine and do the jail time.

When a person is guilty of reckless driving without a valid driver’s license and causes a fatal accident, it’s a class 6 felony and comes with a sentence of one to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $2,500. Section 46.2-868(B). And if you’re convicted of reckless driving and operating a handheld device, you will incur an additional statutory fine of $250. Section 46.2-868(C).

Virginia prosecutors and judges do have discretion in how reckless driving charges – and penalties – are handled. The actual penalty you can realistically expect from a reckless driving conviction depends on the jurisdiction.  In some counties, traffic court judges might not assess jail time for some reckless driving speeds, but if it’s over 90 MPH, more than a few days of jail time is all but certain. It’s also possible for your attorney to negotiate a plea agreement prior to trial, especially if you have a good driving record, and your reckless driving offense is not an aggravated case.  It could be plead down to improper driving (Section 46.2-869), which carries a maximum $500 fine, or to a simple speeding ticket, both of which are infractions rather than a misdemeanor charge.

If you hope to have your case pleaded down prior to trial, it is beneficial for a Newport News reckless driving lawyer to represent you. This is because it is against Commonwealth law for a prosecutor and defendant who faces any amount of possible jail time to have any contact with the other prior to appearing in court.

Reckless driving brings six demerit points to any Virginia driver’s record, which can remain for 11 years. However, if your case is pleaded down, according to the state’s Uniform Demerit Point System, it would result in fewer points. Speeding convictions bring anywhere from 4 points to 3 points and remain on your record from 3 to 5 years, while improper driving carries 3 points, which last for three years.

Newport News Reckless Driving Lawyers for Out-of-State Drivers

If you live in another part of the state or will be away for some other reason, of if you can’t afford to take time off from your job to spend half a day – or more – in court, you can hire a defense attorney to appear in your place to defend you. This involves signing a simple General Power of Attorney (POA) form, transferring your appearance obligation to your lawyer, and also authorizes him or her to defend you as well as negotiate a plea agreement if possible. Maybe he or she can win the case or negotiate a plea agreement to avoid trial altogether. You will be legally bound by whatever plea agreement or sentence your attorney agrees to on your behalf. And you will have a reasonable amount of time to pay whatever fines are levied against you and comply with any other terms – including any jail time you must serve – as part of your plea agreement or conviction.