The Two Ways To Be Accused of Reckless Driving in Virginia
In the Commonwealth of Virginia, there are two ways to be accused of reckless driving. First, the Virginia General Assembly legislated a statute that explicitly states, when a motor vehicle exceeds a certain speed limit, the operator of that motor vehicle can be deemed to have disregarded the welfare of others and of others property. Second, in much more general terms, when a driver exhibits behavior, which induces the belief, the driver is willfully operating his vehicle in a reckless manner, or in such a way "as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person,” he or she shall also be guilty of reckless driving. In Virginia, if anyone is convicted of either variation of reckless driving, in Virginia, they shall have been convicted of a class I misdemeanor criminal offense.
Now, almost all of us have been involved in an automobile accident; and, if you're reading this, chances are, you at least know someone who has been. It is an easy observation to state that there is as wide a range of types and degrees of accident, as there is horizon in the desert. You could have anything and everything from a slight fender bender to a multicar collision, with significant injury or death. Those involved in the more serious cases, I will assume will instinctively seek the assistance of an attorney; however, I might suggest that anyone facing this type of charge would find such an investment worthwhile.
Perhaps one of the more unfair procedures in the Commonwealth, if a driver is found to be at fault in an accident, the law enforcement officer, investigating and reporting on that accident, is extremely limited in what they can do. Obviously, if they have conducted an investigation and found someone to have been at fault, there is an obligation to issue a summons upon the responsible driver. Unfortunately, that officer will almost always be in an inflexible position, where they must issue a ticket with a reckless driving charge. There is no lesser offense that the officer is authorized to charge. If you are charged with reckless driving, after being involved in an accident, you need an attorney just about as much as anyone might ever need attorney.
In Virginia, and hopefully elsewhere, courts at the local level are still in the community and still want to see justice. With the correct presentation, many district court judges, if not all, recognize that the demands placed upon these officers is high and the impact on you could be significant. As a reminder, if convicted of reckless driving, as charge, the defendant will stand convicted of a class I misdemeanor criminal offense. Thus, an attorney with a solid local knowledge could be extremely valuable to the defendant. The knowledge could translate into successful strategies. The bounds of the success will largely be determined by the quality of the defendant’s driving record.