What constitutes reckless driving in VA?
September 6, 2006 6:58 AM Subscribe
What is a guy to do about a seemingly unreasonable traffic charge?
posted by BobbyDigital to Law & Government (26 answers total)
I was speeding, I got caught, I would not argue that becuase I am clearly guilty of that.
More specifically I was driving home from Greensboro NC. to northern Virginia yesterday by way of Route 29 and making good time and enjoying the scenery. In Lovingston Va which is just south of Charlottesville I got caught by a speed trap. It was just over the crest of a hill, and I was giving the car some more gas to get over the hill and natually it was going a bit faster then it should when I started going down again so I was caught going 74 in a 60. I got a ticket, and was told to buckle up and drive safe for the remainder of my journey.
Now I was fine with this, and aside from feeling like a dummy for speeding I was ready to prepay the ticket and get on with my life. Then when I got home I noticed that the ticket was for reckless driving and became much more concerned.
I was speeding but I do not feel I met any of the conditions for reckless driving in the state of Virginia. I was not passing cars or switching lanes in a reckless manner, as there were no other cars anywhere near me, nor did I change lanes. I was not exceeding the posted speed limit by more then 20 miles an hour, nor was I going over 80mph. I was not driving dangerously in bad conditions, as the weather was beautiful at the time and the roads were dry and emply of any activity other then myself. I was not racing (saw no other cars for several minutes before the incident) Additionally I was in no way shape or form innebriated, I have not touched pot in well over a year at this point and I did have 2 glasses of wine the night before with dinner, but I cannot see that being a factor. As far as I can tell from looking at the Viginia criteria for reckless driving and some commentary concerning them the only possible way I could considered a reckless driver was if the LEO made a judgment call that my going 14 mph over the posted speed limit was in some way much more significant then a mere traffic ticket for such a speed would merit.
However if this is merely a judgement call by the LEO does that not put the burden of proof on the state? Also, does the fact that I have an exemplary record prior to this with no tickets whatseover really serve as a mitigating circumstance that might get the charge reduced? I do not hope to get out of this with not penalty, the fact is I was speeding and I got caught and I deserve to pay for it. But I was not driving recklessly and I do not want such a charge on my record, nor do I want points for it on my previously unblemished driving history.
So my question is this, I have the option of paying for this ($212) and trying to forget it, is it better to just swallow that pill or if I were to show up in court down there would I be risking a more serious penalty, and should I consider hiring a lawer to go with me. I do not have much money, and I would prefer to go by myself, but I do not want to risk doing somthing stupid in court due to ignorance. My girlfirends father is a trial lawer who also happens to be particularly adept at getting speeding tickets so I will ask him about this later today, but I would greatly appreciate any advice from you guys and will post any other information you want if asked for it.