Tag: Caddell Nelson & Reibach

Don’t Text and Drive in Virginia or Anywhere

Virginia Could Make Texting Behind the Wheel a Major Traffic Offense

Texting while driving in Virginia is already against the law. It’s punishable by a ticket with a small fine. But the Virginia State Crime Commission wants the act to be considered the same as reckless driving.

Under proposed legislation endorsed by the Virginia State Crime Commission, texting while driving would be placed under the state’s definition of reckless driving. Reckless driving is a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.As the law stands now, texting and driving is a secondary offense. That means you can only be ticketed for it if you’ve been stopped for a separate violation, such as failing to stop at a stop light. The first texting offense carries a $20 fine. All subsequent offenses carry a $50 fine.

Organizations such as DriveSmart, a driving-safety education organization, and AAA Mid-Atlantic, a motorist-advocacy group, have long lobbied for stronger texting while driving laws in Virginia. But the issue came to the forefront after a judge in Fairfax County ruled that a texting driver involved in a fatal accident could not be convicted of reckless driving because the state legislature passed a law making texting a lesser crime.

Delegate Robert Bell, chairman for the Virginia State Crime Commission, remains perplexed by that particular ruling, but said “if that’s something that’s happening in the court, we need to make sure texting is covered under reckless driving.”

Under the proposed legislation, drivers can only use their cellular phones to make voice calls. Drivers in Virginia could be stopped and charged with a misdemeanor if they use their phone for anything other than verbal communication while on the road.

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell stated on his Richmond-area radio show that he believes texting and driving is already covered under the state’s reckless driving statute, but that he will seriously consider the proposal.

Advocates of stricter laws against texting and driving point to numerous studies demonstrating the dangers of using a cellular device while operating a vehicle.

A report released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that the risk of crashing is 23 times higher while texting than while driving undistracted. AAA cites studies showing that approximately 80 percent of accidents involve driver distractions or inattention within 3 seconds of the crash. Sending or reading one text message takes the driver’s eyes off the road an average of 4.6 seconds.

Public support against texting and driving is also high. According to a 2011 survey conducted by AAA, 94 percent of respondents agreed that texting or e-mailing while driving was unacceptable and 87 percent supported laws against reading or typing on cellular devices. 79 percent supported making texting while driving a primary offense.

But the same AAA survey also found that 33 percent of participants admitted to using their cell phones for purposes other than making calls. According to the survey, many of those in favor of stricter penalties for texting while driving actually used their mobile devices while driving a car.

The General Assembly hopes that by expanding the definition of reckless driving, it will prevent those 33 percent from texting and driving on Virginia’s roadways.

Weiland Upton is a leading firm of Virginia reckless driving lawyers

Call (804) 355-8037 for a free consultation

VA Police Catch Speeders, Limit Traffic Fatalities

 Police Enforce Speeding and Reckless Driving in Virginia During the  Holiday

Virginia Speeding Ticket LawyersMotorists driving on Virginia’s highways over the Labor Day weekend may have noticed an increased police presence, as Virginia State troopers issued reckless driving and speeding tickets across the Commonwealth. Virginia State Police had 75 percent of its uniformed workforce patrolling the interstates over the holiday.

The law enforcement push was part of the Operation Combined Accident Reduction Effort (C.A.R.E.), an annual, state program intended to reduce car crashes and injuries caused by speeding, drunk driving and the failure of drivers to use seatbelts.

Virginia saw a sharp decrease in traffic fatalities over the weekend in comparison with the last year’s Labor Day weekend enforcement effort. Six people lost their lives in traffic accidents during the 2012 weekend across the state, including one fatality in Stafford County. During the same period in 2011, 16 people were killed in traffic accidents on Virginia’s roadways.

The four-day weekend saw Virginia State Police issue a number of citations and court summons throughout the Commonwealth. Troopers issued 8,187 speeding tickets and 2,459 reckless driving tickets. They arrested 112 people for drunk driving. Additionally, police responded to a total of 715 accidents.

Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent, was pleased with the show of force and the reduction in traffic-related fatalities over the holiday weekend: “We asked Virginians … to make safe, responsible driving a priority … We appreciate everyone who made an effort to share the road responsibly, buckle up, comply with speed limits, avoid distractions, and drive sober.”

Operation Combined Accident Reduction Effort is an annual Labor Day weekend law enforcement initiative aimed at curbing accidents caused by speeding and reckless driving in Virginia.

Weiland Upton is a leading firm of Virginia speeding ticket attorneys

Call (804) 355-8037 for a free consultation

Second Offense DUI Reduced to First Offense in VA Court

THE RESULTS DO NOT GUARANTEE OR PREDICT A SIMILAR RESULT IN ANY FUTURE CASE UNDERTAKEN BY THE LAWYER. THE RESULTS DEPEND ON A VARIETY OF FACTORS UNIQUE TO EACH CASE.

Jurisdiction and names omitted to protect the privacy of our clients.

On April 13, 2012, our law firm represented a client charged with committing a second offense DUI.  If convicted as charged, the client faced a mandatory minimum jail sentence and suspension of his license for a period of 3 years along with ignition interlock as a condition of a restricted license. Weiland Upton was able to get the charge reduced to a first offense.   As a result, the client received no jail time, no ignition interlock, received a license suspension for one year as opposed to 3 years and was granted an immediate restricted license.