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Chesterfield Reckless Driving Defense
Reckless driving constitutes a class one misdemeanor. That means the maximum punishment is a $2,500 fine and up to 12 months in jail. It also gives you six points on your driver’s license that remain there for 11 years. If you are charged with reckless driving in Chesterfield, Virginia you need an experienced attorney with Hull Street Law to defend the Chesterfield reckless driving charge.
Virginia Code - Reckless Driving
There are two main Code sections in Virginia criminalizing reckless driving: Code § 46.2-862 and Code § 46.2-852.
Reckless driving under Code § 46.2-862 is a common offense since it just depends on speed. This section states: “A person shall be guilty of reckless driving who drives a motor vehicle on the highways in the Commonwealth (i) at a speed of twenty miles per hour or more in excess of the applicable maximum speed limit or (ii) in excess of eighty miles per hour regardless of the applicable maximum speed limit.”
If you go either 20 miles per hour over the speed limit or over 80 miles per hour, you fall under this section. Going over 80 can be especially common where the speed limit reaches 70 miles per hour. In that case, if you go 11 miles over the speed limit, you’re recklessly driving.
The other main reckless driving statute covers driving in a generally reckless way, regardless of speed. Code § 46.2-852 states: “Irrespective of the maximum speeds permitted by law, any person who drives a vehicle on any highway recklessly or at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person shall be guilty of reckless driving.”
Reckless driving may also occur for other reasons, but they are less common.
Possible Defenses to Reckless Driving in Chesterfield Va
Even if you are charged with reckless driving in Chesterfield Va by speed, the officer may have a problem with verifying the calibration of his radar. Code § 46.2-882 provides that calibrations are only valid for six months. There may also be a problem if the officer tries to bring a copy of the calibration to the court. Code § 8.01-391(B) states that a true copy must be authenticated by a custodian and contain a certificate stating the custodian has custody. A photocopy may not be enough here. Defenses also exist to a charge of general reckless driving.
Commonwealth must prove actual reckless behavior
The Commonwealth will have to prove evidence of actual reckless behavior. Case law establishes that it is not enough that you simply had an accident. Crest v. Commonwealth, 40 Va. App. 165, 174, 578 S.E.2d 88, 92 (2003).
Powers v Commonwealth - Case law
The case of Powers v. Commonwealth, 211 Va. 386, 177 S.E.2d 628 (1970) illustrates how the Commonwealth must prove actual driving for a conviction under the general reckless driving statute. The defendant’s car was found wrecked after having been driven for less than a mile. The car was found in a ditch on the side of the highway, with the defendant in a ditch on the opposite side. The car was out of control for over 900 feet. The Commonwealth argued that from these facts reckless driving could be inferred, but the court disagreed. The court noted the record contained no evidence as to the car’s speed or as to how the accident happened. The court reversed the conviction.
Reduction in Charge
In many cases where an acquittal may not be feasible, it may be possible to reduce your charge to improper driving. Code § 46.2-869 states that where a person is charged with reckless driving, but “the degree of culpability is slight, the court in its discretion may find the accused not guilty of reckless driving but guilty of improper driving.” Improper driving is only a traffic infraction and carries a maximum of a $500 fine.
In arguing any mitigation issues, we may inform the court about other factors favorable to your case. These may include: a good driving record, an incorrect speedometer reading, a legitimate emergency, or any other factors peculiar to your case.
Chesterfield DUI Defense
If you or a loved one have been charged with driving under the influence, it is important that you consult with a capable Richmond, Virginia, DUI lawyer right away. At the law office of Hull Street Law, a division of Thomas H. Roberts & Associates, P.C. and its division Hull Street Law, we offer the dedicated, aggressive and skilled approach necessary to achieve the best possible outcome for those arrested on charges of DUI. You may assume that you will be found guilty and that you have no choice but to accept your punishment. Experienced DUI attorneys in Richmond, Virginia, know there are many defense strategies that may work in protecting your legal rights.
Although it may seem that DUI is fairly straightforward, the opposite is actually true. Seasoned Richmond DUI lawyers know that the law is extremely complex. Without effective and capable legal counsel, it is likely that you will face harsh penalties which may include jail time, substantial fines, and loss of your driving privileges. Penalties may be even harsher if it is your second, third or even fourth offense.
Innocent until proved guilty
DUI lawyers in Richmond, Virginia, also know that just because you were charged with driving under the influence does not mean you are guilty. Under the law, you are innocent until proven guilty. You may have taken over-the-counter or prescription medication for a health condition, and find yourself charged with DUI. Perhaps you were momentarily distracted which led to weaving in and out, and were pulled over. A talented Richmond, Virginia, DUI attorney knows that there are many reasons people get pulled over, but it does not mean you should be punished when you did nothing wrong.
Even if you did consume alcohol before getting behind the wheel, you may not necessarily have been impaired. Regardless of whether you were sober or intoxicated, you do not want to face a ruined future for one mistake. Richmond DUI lawyers know that one innocent mistake can mean a ruined career and reputation, higher insurance rates and more. It is imperative that you have a DUI attorney in Richmond, Virginia, on your side who is diligent, capable and prepared to do whatever is necessary to defend you.
Officers make errors, breath/field sobriety tests are not always reliable or accurate. Your Richmond, Virginia, DUI lawyer may challenge your arrest and raise the most important issues in order to protect you from harsh penalties.
At the law office of Thomas H. Roberts & Associates, P.C. and its division Hull Street Law, we provide every client with unsurpassed legal guidance. Contact Thomas H. Roberts & Associates, P.C. and its division Hull Street Law today, and let us fight for you.
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Hull Street Law
a division of Thomas H. Roberts & Associates, PC
105 S 1st Street
Richmond, Virginia 232129