A reckless driving conviction in Virginia can result in a jail sentence, hefty fines, suspension of your privilege to drive, and demerit points on your driving record, which can also increase your vehicle insurance rates and lead to administrative license suspensions or revocations. In addition, reckless driving is a misdemeanor offense, and you will have a permanent criminal record if convicted. Because of all the harsh consequences, you need to build your defense to the charges that you face and obtain evidence that will support your defenses.
Types of Evidence That Can Help Build a Strong Defense to Reckless Driving Charges
Without the assistance of a defense attorney familiar with reckless driving cases, your chances of getting a lighter punishment, reduction of the charge, or dismissal of the case become significantly lower. Your attorney will be able to identify defenses that you have based on the circumstances in your case and will know what evidence you need to prove your defenses. Some types of evidence that may be helpful include:
- Calibration of Your Vehicle's Speedometer. If you are disputing that you were driving as fast as the police officer claims, you may want to obtain a speedometer calibration. Depending on whether your car has been properly maintained, damaged, or modified, it is possible that your speedometer shows a lower speed than what you are actually traveling. If the body shop shows this to be the case, this can be used to reduce the penalties you face and possibly the charge, but it is not a defense in and of itself.
- GPS Evidence. If the officer clocked your speed at close to 80 miles per hour or 20 miles over the speed limit—which are two of the ways you can be charged with reckless driving—GPS evidence can help. GPS information may be able to show how far you traveled in a period of time, which can be used to calculate your speed. However, the GPS information must be extremely accurate for this to be useful.
- Witness Testimony. Witness testimony can be helpful in some situations. Witness testimony can help establish your speed, at least as it appeared inside the car. Witness testimony may also shed light on why a person may be weaving in and out of traffic or driving at a high rate. However, witnesses can also be a double edged sword because they may have incriminating information. Working with the witnesses before the day of their testimony is essential to ensure there are no surprises.
- Photos and Videos. When speed limit signs are vandalized, missing, or difficult to see, taking photographs or videos can help prove the lack of proper signage. Photos and videos may also give your attorney, the prosecutor, and the court insight about the conditions on the scene that may also explain your driving behavior. Additionally, photos of the scene and where the officer came from will aid in knowing what the officer could observe from his vantage point and will aid in cross examining the officer.
- Medical Emergency. If you were speeding due to a medical emergency, such as transporting a pregnant woman to the hospital or dealing with a serious medical issue, medical records substantiating this may help you build a defense.
- Safe Driving Record. If you have a clean driving record, you can use this to show your commitment to safe driving. When this is not the case, taking a driver improvement class may show that you are trying to be a safer driver and may result in a reduced reckless driving charge.
- Community Service. While community service is not evidence that will help prove or disprove a fact in your case, it may help reduce the penalties you face if convicted of reckless driving. Likewise, community service can be used to try to reduce the charge to show that you have been proactive and have taken responsibility for your driving behavior.
Do you need help fighting a reckless driving charge? Call our office today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.