How To Defend a Reckless Driving Charge in Virginia
The subject for examination today centers on how to defend criminal charges for reckless driving in Virginia. On a threshold level, all criminal charges are subject to the same standard – proof beyond a reasonable doubt. In order to obtain a conviction, the Commonwealth of Virginia must prove every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
That being said, it is important to note that there are numerous versions of reckless driving charges in Virginia. Consequently, the defense strategy can vary greatly depending on the type of charge.
Defense Strategy for General Reckless Driving Charges
As established in Code of Virginia 46.2-852, the general offense of reckless driving involves driving a car or other vehicle on a highway in a way that:
- Is reckless, careless, or dangerous; or
- Puts other people or property in danger.
In order to challenge the general offense of reckless driving, the defense strategy will center on the four elements above. First, it may be possible to challenge evidence that you were driving the car in question. Second, there is a chance that you were not driving on a qualifying highway or public road. Third, it may be difficult to prove that the driving conduct was actually reckless or truly endangered other people or property.
Overall, an experienced criminal defense attorney will challenge every shred of evidence. If the Commonwealth cannot prove every element beyond a reasonable doubt, a conviction is unlikely.
Defense Strategy for Speeding Reckless Driving Charges
As provided in Code of Virginia 46.2-862, the speeding offense of reckless driving involves highway driving at a speed that is more than:
- 20 miles per hour above the speed limit; or
- 80 miles per hour regardless of the speed limit.
In order to challenge the speeding offense of reckless driving, the defense strategy will center on the four elements above. As with the general offense of reckless driving, it may be possible to show that you were not driving or were not on a qualifying highway. After exhausting those options, there is a chance that you can challenge evidence of the speed at which you were driving. If the Commonwealth cannot prove you were speeding, then a conviction for this type of reckless driving is doubtful.
Driver Improvement Program in Virginia
Even if a driver receives a conviction for reckless driving, there is a way to eliminate or reduce the charge. The Virginia courts have discretion to require a driver improvement program for a reckless driving conviction. After the driver completes this program, the court may eliminate the conviction or reduce the charge to a lesser offense.
Contact Us Today for Help
If need legal assistance concerning reckless driving or other criminal offenses, it is extremely advantageous to seek out an experienced criminal defense lawyer. The Virginia lawyers at Simms Showers LLP, servicing Leesburg, Winchester, Fairfax, and Manassas, have the type of experience needed to help you fight all types of criminal charges, including reckless driving.