How Do Portsmouth Courts Treat Reckless Driving?

If you have been charged with reckless driving in Portsmouth, the case will be heard in the Portsmouth General District Court at what is called a bench trial, which means that the case will be heard in front of a judge. In order to recieve the best possible outcome at this trial it is likely in your best interest to consult with a Portsmouth reckless driving lawyer. Call today and schedule a free consultation to discuss your case, or keep reading to learn more about bench trials and how an experienced attorney can help.

Bench Trials vs Jury Trials

There is usually no point in time where a case will be heard in front of a jury, unless you appeal the case and request a jury trial. It’s pretty unusual for reckless driving cases to ever be in front of a jury. Speak to your lawyer if you want to know about the possibility of a jury trial for your case.

Judges and Prosecutors

Judges treat reckless driving cases the same as any other criminal conviction or charge would be treated. It’s very serious but it’s no different than anything else.

Unlike some other jurisdictions, in Portsmouth reckless driving cases have no prosecutors. The parties present at court are the judge, the person charged, and the police officer.

What to Expect at Court

Someone charged with reckless driving should expect the process to be almost identical to that of a regular traffic ticket. The defendant just has to show up on the date listed on the summons that the officer issued the day of incident.

At this court appearance, the defendant should expect to see the police officer who charged him present on the other side rather than a prosecutor. If the defendant is fighting the charge, they can then expect the judge to ask the officer for his testimony and the officer will then read through his report and answer any questions asked by the judge.

At this point, a lawyer can make a difference in someone’s case because they have the opportunity to also question the police officer. While it is possible for the defendant to do this themselves, an attorney would have done this several times before and will know what questions will have an impact on the case.

If the defendant pleads guilty and doesn’t fight the charge, then the judge will go on immediately into sentencing and skip asking for testimony and evidence. Both sides will have an opportunity to argue regarding sentencing before the judge makes the final decision.

Finally, the judge will decide the case and what the defendant can expect from there will depend on the result.

Evidence in Reckless Driving Cases

The types of evidence typically consists of the officer’s report on what happened at the scene of the event in question. Additionally, in cases of reckless driving where there was an accident, they will have more evidences such as multiple witnesses or photographs of the vehicle or photographs of the road on which the event occurred or if there was any skid marks or anything that demonstrates how the accident happened.

Really, anything that can give the judge a better idea of what happened and is relevant to the case is going to be allowed to be admitted.

Typically, the officers don’t go to great lengths with the evidence and their testimony is the main thing presented along with the information about their equipment. The police officer testifies regarding what caused him to issue the defendant summon for court in the first place.