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Traffic, Reckless Driving, DUI

Virginia Traffic Offenses, Reckless Driving, and DUI's

Virginia traffic laws can be found in the Virginia Code Title 46.2There are numerous kinds of traffic violations some involving jail time and others mere citations. Depending on their charge people sometimes feel comfortable going to court without a lawyer, thinking they don't need one – and in all honesty sometimes that is true!

However, more serious traffic offenses carry the possibility of months in jail as well as other collateral consequences and should always be handled by an experienced Virginia Criminal Defense Attorney.

Experienced Virginia Traffic Attorneys

At Chludzinski & Mitchell, PLLC our Virginia criminal defense attorneys are experienced litigators of Virginia traffic offenses. Some of the most common offenses we handle include:

  • Reckless Driving

  • Driving Without a Valid License

  • Driving on a Suspended License

  • Driving on a Revoked License

  • License Restoration After a Suspension or DUI

  • DUI

  • Habitual Offender

  • Evading and Eluding the Police, a.k.a. running from the police

  • Hit & Run, a.k.a. Leaving the Scene of an Accident

  • Car Accidents

  • Moving Violations

  • Driving Without Insurance

Reckless Driving in Virginia

Reckless driving in Virginia is a class 1 misdemeanor, meaning it is a criminal offense punishable with up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. Reckless driving also carries six DMV points and a potential license suspension of up to six months. Further, a reckless driving conviction stays on your Virginia DMV record for 11 years, and your criminal records for the rest of your life.

Two Kinds of Reckless Driving

In Virginia there are two different kinds of Reckless driving charges. One is commonly referred to as Reckless by Speed and you can be charged with it for driving over 80 MPH or if you ever go 20 MPH over the posted speed limit. Virginia Code 46.2-862. The second is commonly referred to as General Reckless, Virginia Code 46.2-852. This charge is something of a catch-all citation. If all else fails, a police officer could cite you for reckless driving, simply based on the fact that he thinks you are driving in a way that endangers life or property.

Mitigating Factors

There are a number of mitigating factors that we can use to reduce or even dismiss the charge against you. Some of these include:

  • Good driving record

  • Speedometer reading incorrectly

  • Radar calibration issues

  • Legitimate emergency

How to Prepare For Court

In order to take advantage of these factors there are a number of things you should start doing before going to court:

  • Get a copy of your driving record

  • Have your speedometer calibrated

  • Take a driver education class

  • Complete some community service – this is particularly necessary if you have an especially high rate of speed.

Different Counties Treat Reckless Driving Differently

You will also need an experienced attorney's help with your reckless driving defense. Every county in Virginia works differently and you need an attorney who is familiar with each jurisdiction's local practices – for example, if you are charged with a reckless driving ticket in Arlington County and accused of going 90 MPH over the speed limit or more it is local practice for the prosecutor to request that you serve active jail time.

In Fairfax County a prosecutor will not be assigned to your case until the morning of court and so it will not be possible for your lawyer to reach out to them in advance.

In Alexandria City there is one prosecutor who is responsible for handling all of the traffic cases for the City and so your lawyer will be able to speak with them before the day of court.

These are all just examples of the types of “unofficial local practices” that an experienced attorney should be familiar with.

Virginia DUI's 

The Virginia DUI law is contained under Virginia Code Section 18.2-266. Virginia DUI Law makes it unlawful for any person to drive or operate any motor vehicle,

  1.  while such person has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or more; OR

  2.  while such person is under the influence of alcohol.

While this sounds simple enough the law surrounding the admissibility of evidence to prove a DUI is very technical & complex. For example the admissibility of field sobriety tests. Most people have heard of or seen on TV an officer asking a driver to walk a straight line, stand on one leg, say a portion of the alphabet, count backwards, etc. These are referred to as field sobriety tests.

What most people don't know is that they are NOT required to perform these tests and in fact should NEVER consent to perform them. There is no benefit to you from performing these tests, the officer is simply collecting evidence to use against you later in court.

Virginia DUI Penalties

The penalties and collateral consequences of a DUI conviction vary depending on the specifics of the DUI and the person charged, but may often include the following:

  • Jail Time, suspended and/or active

  • Ignition Interlock

  • Suspension or Revocation of Driving Privileges for 12 Months

  • Expensive fines

  • Probation

  • DUI education courses such as VASAP

  • Significant increases to or loss of your car insurance

  • Loss of employment or employment opportunities

Speak to an Experienced Virginia Traffic Attorney Today

If you have been charged with Reckless Driving, DUI, or any of the previously mentioned offenses, then you need an experienced Virginia criminal defense attorney who regularly practices in traffic court. At C&M Law our attorneys have handled thousands of traffic cases and have the experience you need to get the best outcome possible. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

RESOURCES: 

Reckless Driving in Virginia 

Paying Fines and Costs and Traffic Tickets Online In Virginia

The Different Virginia Courts

Criminal Court Process in Virginia

Arraignments in Virginia

VA Felony vs. Misdemeanor Charges

Expungements in Virginia

Alexandria Criminal Defense

Areas We Serve

Virginia, Washington, DC and Maryland.

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