Reckless Driving or Speeding?
You will locate this under the Law Section of your ticket. There are many different Virginia speeding and Virginia reckless driving offenses:
DIFFERENT TYPES OF VIRGINIA SPEEDING TICKETS
But you can see the full list here: FROM 46.2-870 until about 46.2-881.
As you can see, there are quite a few Virginia speeding laws. These are just traffic infractions and they are not criminal. The judge has no direct ability to suspend your license for a speeding ticket that is NOT reckless driving. The DMV can still suspend your license, but the judge cannot for simple speeding.
DIFFERENT VIRGINIA RECKLESS DRIVING LAWS
Reckless driving IS a criminal misdemeanor and the judge DOES have the ability to suspend your license for reckless driving. There are many different reckless driving laws:
§ 46.2-852. Reckless driving; general rule.
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.
§ 46.2-853. Driving vehicle which is not under control; faulty brakes.
A person shall be guilty of reckless driving who drives a vehicle which is not under proper control or which has inadequate or improperly adjusted brakes on any highway in the Commonwealth.
§ 46.2-861. Driving too fast for highway and traffic conditions.
A person shall be guilty of reckless driving who exceeds a reasonable speed under the circumstances and traffic conditions existing at the time, regardless of any posted speed limit.
§ 46.2-862. Exceeding speed limit.
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.
RECKLESS DRIVING BY SPEED IS THE MOST COMMON RECKLESS DRIVING CHARGE
By far, the greatest number of reckless driving charges are written for reckless driving by speed. As it is written, if you are driving 81 mph in a 70 mph zone then you are guilty of reckless driving by speed. This is a strict liability crime so you don’t have to be aware of how fast you are going.
WHAT LEGAL DEFENSES DO I HAVE FOR SPEEDING OR RECKLESS DRIVING?
There are a number of different legal defenses to speeding or reckless driving by speed.
The Officer Clocked the Wrong Vehicle
Radar and Laser work very differently. Radar does not identify a specific vehicle. So if you were driving in a pack of vehicles the officer will need to prove that you were the one driving at the speed cited. I have won cases where the officer pulls over two vehicles at the same time, and he did not actually clock the second vehicle. The officer estimated the speed based on clocking the first vehicle. That is not enough. The officer has to clock your vehicle, and be able to prove he got the right vehicle.
2. The Officer is Not in Court
Every court is different in how they handle it when the officer does not come to court. I personally think the judge should dismiss cases where out of state clients come to court, or hire an attorney to go for them and the officer is not present. However, some courts will continue the case until the next court date.
3. The Officer Cannot Prove That you Were Speeding or Reckless Driving because the Calibration is Not in Order
Calibration defenses are very technical. There is a law that requires officer’s to have their radar/laser calibrated within 6 months of the offense date. If it is not calibrated then the judge should dismiss your case.
In addition, the calibration must be an ORIGINAL calibration report, or a TRUE COPY. This is a legal term of art and there are court cases that determine what counts as an original or true copy, and what does not.
There are also important cases where the Virginia Court of Appeals has weighed in on what the officers need to testify to.
JUST BECAUSE YOU ARE CHARGED WITH SPEEDING OR RECKLESS DRIVING, DOES NOT MEAN YOU NEED TO BE CONVICTED
I have won cases based on each of the above defenses. I have also caught the officer unaware MULTIPLE, MULTIPLE times on the calibration issues. Most attorneys, even most traffic lawyers, have not done the legal research to truly know and understand how to present and try a case based on a defective calibration.
In my experience, even prosecutors and judges are not familiar with the law regarding calibrations. I had an officer tell the court that he had up to 12 months to have his radar calibrated. And the prosecutor told the judge he wasn’t familiar with the law and had to research the case.
My client won her case despite having a very bad driving record, but it was because we won on a legal issue.
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