Virginia Beach Reckless Driving By Speed Charges

Some people may think that a reckless driving by speed charge is just a fancy way to say “speeding ticket”. However, that is not the case because a reckless driving by speed charge in Virginia Beach can have damaging effects to your criminal record while a speeding ticket is typically not a criminal charge. Below, a Virginia Beach reckless driving lawyer explains exactly what a reckless driving by speed charge is, why someone who has been charged should hire an attorney, and how the charge is different from a speeding ticket. To learn more, don’t hesitate to call our Virginia Beach reckless driving lawyer and schedule a consultation.

Reckless Driving by Speed in Virginia Beach

In Virginia Beach, reckless driving by speed refers to someone driving at an excessive speed going 20 miles per hour or more over the speed limit, or driving 80 miles per hour or more anywhere in Virginia Beach.

Reasons to Hire an Attorney

It’s smart to hire a lawyer for this kind of offense because reckless driving by speed is actually a class one misdemeanor. This means that the possible penalties include up to 12 months in jail,  a fine of up to $2500, as well as a license suspension for up to six months. These are very serious long term consequences and it’s a very defendable charge. It’s great to have a lawyer because even if the charge or the incident itself doesn’t have much of a defense there’s so much more that you can provide for the court in terms of mitigating the penalties that a lawyer can definitely help you with.

As far as legal excuses for driving at those speeds go, there really aren’t that many. Some judges will make an exception if you can build a strong case for an emergency situation, but in general most of the defenses have to do more with mitigating the actual penalties and talking down the charge to something else, rather than trying to convince the judge that it didn’t happen or it was justified.

Is Reckless Driving by Speed a Less Severe Form of Reckless Driving?

No, reckless driving by speed is the same level of offense as every other type of reckless driving. It’s just one specific category of it, but they’re all considered the same level of seriousness.

Reckless Driving by Speed v. Speeding Ticket

Reckless driving by speed is different from a speeding ticket because reckless driving is a completely different level of charge. Reckless driving is a criminal class one misdemeanor whereas a speeding ticket is a traffic infraction. Traffic infractions are punishable by a fine, demerit points on your drivers’ license, and a possible license suspension. There’s no jail time or criminal record possible a speeding ticket. Reckless driving has long term consequences and a conviction is permanently shown on someone’s criminal record.

Telling the Difference Between the Two

You can tell the difference by looking at exactly what it is that the officer has charged you with. The document will usually specify speeding or reckless driving underneath the box where it says what the charge is. If it doesn’t specify, then right below where the charges were, there’s a box that can be checked if the defendant does not have to appear in court. If the defendant doesn’t have to appear in court, then it’s a speeding ticket because there’s no mandatory court appearance required. Reckless driving, since it’s a criminal charge, requires an appearance in court, so that box will not be checked or the entire section will just be crossed out.

How a Reckless Driving Charge Can Affect You

Many people believe that it’s not as serious because the action that caused the charge was just driving fast, but it’s not only a criminal offense; it’s also a class one misdemeanor, which is the highest level of misdemeanor available. It’s at the exact same level as shoplifting and assault and battery. Whether it looks bad on your record is a subjective question which would depend on who exactly is looking at the record. If someone is running a background check the answer may depend on what the background check is for. In general, however, there’s not really any positive that’s going to come from having a misdemeanor conviction on your criminal record.

Impact on CDL Holders

Reckless driving by speed can affect a CDL, as it’s considered a serious violation. There is a limit to how many serious violations you can receive  as a CDL driver in a short period of time. This will lead to disqualification which means that the driver won’t be allowed to drive a commercial vehicle if they were disqualified. This is important for CDL drivers to consider because if they are driving full time as a commercial driver then  that may be enough for them to completely lose their job.

Are CDL Holder Cases Different?

If you mention to the judge that someone is a CDL driver, then it’s another consideration for the judge, but in general the charge and arguments are the same. Sometimes it can even hurt the case because CDL drivers are generally held to a higher standard than regular drivers.

Potential Defenses For Reckless Driving By Speed

The most common defenses for reckless driving have to do with the calibration certificate provided by a police officer. It’s important for an attorney to know exactly what is required to be on a calibration certificate and in what format. For example it’s required that the calibration certificate presented by the officer be a true copy of the original or be the original. If it is not then it shouldn’t be admissible and the case could be thrown away, unless the officer has some other evidence that can demonstrate the speed at which the defendant was going.

Another defense is if somebody has a clean driving record then an attorney can present the clean record as evidence to show that this is an isolated incident. Usually combined with other evidence, like someone taking a driver improvement class, it’s enough for the judge to be persuaded to reduce it to at least a speeding ticket instead.

How An Attorney Can Help

It’s important to analyze all of the facts of the case to figure out what the possible defenses are. Sometimes there aren’t any defenses related to the act itself, but there is a lot of evidence that can be provided in support of having the charge reduced or dismissed regardless. An attorney will take the steps to explain how to best prepare for court, which may include some unrelated things to the incident such as taking a driver improvement class or doing community service. An attorney can also figure out with you what the options or possibilities are in going forward.