If you have been charged with Reckless Driving in Fairfax County, below are few things you should know before going to court.
Reckless Driving is a Criminal Charge
If you are convicted, reckless driving is a criminal conviction and will be put on your criminal record. Once convicted, you can not obtain an expungement to clear you criminal record of this charge.
Reckless Driving stays on your DMV Record for 11 years
A conviction stays on your DMV record for 11 years and carries six (6) points. Judges have no control over points. Points in Virginia are assessed administratively by the DMV based on the conviction.
Fairfax County Courts Do NOT Offer Driving School.
In Fairfax County, Judges do not offer a first offender or other type of driving school program to reduce or otherwise dismiss any traffic charge. In some jurisdictions, the Courts will offer first offenders or people with good driving records the opportunity to take a driver improvement course. If a person successfully completes this course, the charge is dismissed or reduced to a lower NON CRIMINAL offense. In Fairfax, there is NO such program. Also, Virginia Law does not permit probation before judgement (PBJ) or other special deferments.
Fairfax Prosecutors Will Not Talk to Individuals Who Are Not Represented By Counsel
In Fairfax, you will not be able to talk to the officer or the prosecutor without an Attorney. The policy of the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office is that they will not get involved in a case where the defendant is not represented by counsel. Police Officers do not have the authority negotiate a plea agreement.
Unless you are at risk of going to jail, Fairfax Courts will not appoint you an Attorney for a Reckless Driving Charge.
Judges will not appoint counsel for indigent defendants on Reckless Driving charges unless there is the possibility that they will impose a jail sentence. A very good indicator that your charge may result in jail time is that the Judge will ask you if you would like to have an attorney represent you or offers to appoint the public defender.
Restricted Licenses Are Not Automatic And Many Times Not Granted.
If your case in Fairfax warrants a license suspension, a restricted license must be requested from the Court. To do so, you must fill out an application (Form DC-263 – Application for Restricted License). However, just because you are prepared to request one, does not mean the judge will grant it. And even if the judge grants it, listen closely to what he grants. Many times, Judges in Fairfax County will suspend your license for 30 or 60 days but if you request a restricted license will change the license suspension period to six months (giving you a restricted for the entire time period). Other times, the judge simply denies the request for a restricted license because they feel the case was severe enough to warrant no driving privileges.
HIRE A LAWYER
In Fairfax County, there is no better advice to give for a Reckless Driving charge than hire a lawyer. There are over ten judges that regularly preside over matters in Fairfax County Traffic Court and this doesn’t include the numerous retired and substitute judges that can be called upon to hear traffic matters on any given day. A common saying in the legal community is that reasonable minds can, and often do, differ. Never is this saying more true than amongst the Judges in Fairfax County regarding their opinions as to the appropriate punishment on a Reckless Driving case. Punishments can vary immensely between cases. Factors judges consider are speed at the time of the offense, weather conditions, traffic conditions, time of day, driving record, etc. Minor differences in any one of these factors could change a case from being one where just a fine is appropriate to one where jail is possible. Do not take the risk – an experienced traffic lawyer can help.
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