Q: I'm a teen driver who was pulled over by a Virginia police officer for a traffic violation. I treated him respectfully, but one of my passengers gave him a hard time, and he wound up citing me for reckless driving. Is this fair?

A: Strictly speaking, maybe not. But you have to look at it from the officer's point of view. He has better ways to spend his time than pulling over juvenile motorists and lecturing them about proper driving techniques; the last thing he wants is to be talked back to or treated disrespectfully by the driver or his passengers. The upshot of your situation is that you might well have gotten off with a warning if your passenger (who we'll assume was also a teenager) didn't stick his foot in his mouth; perhaps the officer took note of the quality of your company and concluded that you were distracted by your friend while driving, which can indeed be charged as a reckless driving offense.

However, all hope is not lost. A good lawyer may be able to succeed in having your reckless driving charge reduced to something less serious, on the premise that the officer was unfairly blaming you for your passenger's behavior. On the other hand, depending on the circumstances of the case, you may well have deserved a reckless driving citation, no matter what your passenger said. That will all depend on your testimony, the testimony of your passenger, and, of course (and most tellingly in the eyes of the judge) the testimony of the arresting officer.

Are you a juvenile driver in Virginia who has been charged with reckless driving or some other serious traffic offense? Call the experienced Virginia traffic attorneys at Jarrell, Hicks & Waldman, PC today (888-783-9701); we will work tirelessly to secure the best possible outcome to your case.