TIP FOR LOWERING YOUR RECKLESS DRIVING CONVICTION IN VIRGINIA
Many Virginians are unaware of an interesting statute used by defense attorneys and judges throughout Virginia that allows a charge of RECKLESS DRIVING to be reduced to what’s known as IMPROPER DRIVING. Improper driving is specified in the Virginia code under section 46.2-869.
Why is this important for you as a driver?
Matt Kaminsky, president of BESTtrafficschool.com, a DMV-licensed computerized driver improvement clinic in Virginia says: “A reckless driving conviction in Virginia is a class 1 misdemeanor, whereas an improper driving conviction is only a traffic infraction, so any driver facing a reckless driving charge should request and vie for the reduced charge of improper driving. Drivers should consult a licensed defense attorney for legal advice, but it’s important for Virginia drivers to know that this is a possible option for them, versus just throwing in the towel.”
This is a great advice for many reasons, as a reckless driving conviction has a much more severe impact on your record and your wallet than an improper driving conviction does.
Class 1 misdemeanor
Maximum $2500 fine
Up to 12 months in Jail
Up to 6 months suspension of your driver’s license
6 points on your record
Remains on your record for 11 years
Maximum $500 fine
No jail time
No license suspension
3 points on your record
Remains on your record for 3 years
As you can see, it’s in your best interests to be aware of this statute and to have it in your arsenal of options. However, just because the statute exists doesn’t guarantee a reduction. Judges and prosecutors have the power to amend your charge, but usually only exercise the option when your culpability is slight (meaning it’s a minimal case)
So what constitutes a minimal case? This can vary court to court, but for instance, borderline speed (a charge of speeding just slightly over the limit for what’s considered reckless) is an instance where a judge may give a little. Also if you were charged as being at fault in an accident, many times the officer on the scene will write you up for reckless driving because that’s all they can charge. They cannot write an improper driving ticket. Therefore when a judge is presented with all the evidence, he or she may reduce your charge.
If you’ve been charged with reckless driving, or find yourself charged anytime in the future, just know that depending on the severity of your charge, you may have the option of reducing it to improper driving.
Isn’t this option a whole lot better than the alternative?