Tag: reckless driving ticket

Virginia Ranks 7 on List of Most Driving Citations Issued in USA

Virginia Ranks 7 on List of Most Driving Citations Issued in USA

We are usually proud when our institutions, sport teams, cities or states rank nationally in polls.  However, in this instance, being listed in the Top 10 for Most Traffic Citations Issued to Drivers in the US is definitely not something to get excited about.

In a recent national review of data and statistics from StaticBrain.com, Virginia was listed among the top 10 states that issue the most driving citations or tickets. Data was sourced as of September 2016. 

Will Virginia rank in the top 10 for this ominous statistic in 2017 as well?

n 2017?


(Image from StaticBrain.com)

The overall all top 10 for 2016 Most states to issue Traffic Citations list was

#1 Ohio
#2 Pennsylvania
#3 New York
#4 California
#5 Texas
#6 Georgia
#7 Virginia
#8 North Carolina
#9 Massachusetts
#10 Connecticut

That is a lot of states on the east coast. Traveling for work through multiple states or road tripping on the major interstates of the east coast could net you several of these states (and traffic tickets, if you aren’t careful). Problems that can occur when traveling in unfamiliar areas include:

  • Not knowing the local speed limit
  • Not realizing when the speed limit has changed and continuing at a too-fast speed
  • Unfamiliarity with roads which results in making sharp turns, running red lights or driving too quickly through residential areas and school zones

Driving citations can include Reckless Driving, DUI, Speeding or other minor driving infractions.  Each citation, ticket or summons comes with its own set of circumstances to deal with. While speeding tickets or failure to obey a stop sign will add DMV points to your license, (as well as a fine for the court cost and penalty), other cases can result in the loss of your drivers license, significant fines or even jail time.  It is recommended if you have received a reckless driving, DUI, or speeding ticket that your contact an Attorney to discuss your case.

Each state has different procedures. If you are not local and get a traffic ticket in Virginia, the state will notify authorities in your state of these traffic violations. A lawyer can advise you on how to best fight the ticket, perhaps without having to return to Virginia. And if you are a Virginia resident and you get a traffic ticket, would you be willing to travel back to that VA area to contest it? Let’s say you live in Winchester but get a reckless driving ticket in Williamsburg; that is an 8-hour drive roundtrip. Or you live in Roanoke and you get a DUI in Richmond; you need a team that will support you on your day in court. Be prepared and know how the charges against you could impact your driving status and your wallet.

If you are faced with a summons, it is in your best interest to consult a knowledgeable and experienced Traffic Attorney. Call one of our experienced traffic lawyers at 804-355-8037.

Other useful information:

Will my license be suspended if I get convicted of a DUI/DWI?
Is Reckless Driving a Misdemeanor or a Felony in Virginia
How Long with DMV Points remain on my record
How Much will Car Insurance Rate Increase from Emporia Va Traffic Violations
Reasons Why a Lawyer Should Fight Your Emporia VA Traffic Ticket

 

What Is Reckless Driving in Virginia?

You are driving down a Virginia interstate headed to vacation in the mountains or at the beach.  The sun is out and the Virginia pine trees are beautiful.  All of a sudden, while you are taking in this sunny Virginia day you notice blue lights flashing behind you.  It’s a Virginia state trooper or some other Virginia law enforcement officer pulling you over.  “I must be going a little too fast,” you say to yourself as you pull into the right emergency shoulder.  You didn’t realize that you were going about eleven or twelve miles per hour over the speed limit, which you noticed earlier is seventy miles per hour.  The officer approaches your vehicle, explains that you were going a little too fast and heads back to his patrol car to write you a summons.  “Just my luck,” you think to yourself.  “Only I could get a speeding ticket on my way to vacation.”  While waiting for the officer to finish handling his paperwork in his car, you contemplate how much money this ticket is going to cost you, how many points you’ll receive on your driving record and, most importantly, how much your auto insurance rates are going to increase over this little mistake. 12559901_blog

But then the moment of surprise comes.  The officer approaches your vehicle again, this time with some papers in his hand.  He tells you he wrote you for going eighty-two miles per hour in a seventy mile per hour zone, and as a result he wrote you for Reckless Driving rather than simple speeding.  “Reckless Driving?  What does that mean?,” you ask the officer.  He explains to you that Reckless Driving is a Class 1 Misdemeanor criminal offense instead of a traffic infraction and that you must appear in Court on the appropriate date to deal with the charge.

You are shocked, to say the least.  You can’t believe it.  How could driving twelve miles per hour over the speed limit be anything but a simple speeding ticket, much less a crime?

As attorneys who handle a large number of Reckless Driving cases in central-Virginia, this scenario, and these questions, are very similar to those we confront regularly with clients and prospective clients.  Those clients and prospective clients are often surprised when we inform them that the officer was right, and that, in fact, there are several ways that a person can be charged with, and convicted of, Reckless Driving in Virginia.

Under Virginia law there are a couple common ways a person can face a charge of Reckless Driving.  By far the most common way is the situation described above.  It is often referred to as Reckless Driving by Speed.  In Virginia, anyone driving twenty miles per hour or more over the posted speed limit, or, over eighty miles per hour (regardless of the speed limit) has committed the offense of Reckless Driving.  As many judges often explain in courthouses throughout Virginia, this particular type of Reckless Driving has absolutely nothing to do with the manner of driving (such as swerving, driving aggressively or passing in an unsafe manner, etc…).  Rather, it is the speed, and speed alone, that causes one to be charged with, and ultimately convicted of, Reckless Driving.

The other common way in which people get charged with Reckless Driving in Virginia is when an accident occurs, or almost occurs.  Under Virginia law, a person who drives in a reckless manner or “in a manner so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person shall be guilty of reckless driving.”  Unlike Reckless Driving by Speed this particular type of Reckless Driving has everything to do with the person’s manner of driving.  Some common examples of situations where Virginia judges find Reckless Driving is when the person is driving while playing with the radio or GPS, driving while texting or talking on the phone, or falling asleep behind the wheel due to fatigue.  Likewise, driving too fast for road conditions after it has rained or snowed, weaving or swerving in and out of traffic, or weaving excessively within one’s lane can be deemed Reckless Driving.  Although the above are examples of behavior often considered Reckless Driving it is certainly not exhaustive.  Moreover, while it is often the case that Reckless Driving is charged when these behaviors result in an accident, it is clearly not the case that an accident must occur in order to be convicted of this charge.

Finally, while all of the instances discussed above are common ways people get charged with, and convicted of, Reckless Driving in Virginia, Virginia law also provides for many other ways in which a Reckless Driving charge can be successfully prosecuted.  For a more extensive list, feel free to visit the Virginia DMV website at http://www.dmvnow.com/drivers/#points_6.asp.

It is also important to note that as stated earlier, Reckless Driving is not merely a traffic infraction like a speeding ticket.  In fact, it is a criminal offense that can carry very stiff penalties.  It is a Class 1 Misdemeanor, and the maximum penalty upon being convicted of Reckless Driving is a $2500 fine, twelve month jail sentence, and a 6 month loss of your privilege to drive in Virginia.

At Weiland Upton we dedicate a great deal of our practice to handling cases for clients charged with Reckless Driving.  Although each jurisdiction and judge is different, we are often successful at getting Reckless Driving charges dismissed or reduced to more minor charges for clients.

Weiland Upton is a leading firm of Virginia reckless driving lawyers.

Call (804) 355-8037 for a free consultation

We handle Reckless Driving Cases in the Following Locations:

 

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

Guest Blog: New York Residents with VA Traffic Tickets

Virginia and Out-of-State Traffic Tickets

If you have a New York driver’s license and receive a Virginia traffic ticket, you are not off the hook just yet.

Virginia Speeding Ticket Attorneys

If convicted of a NY traffic offense and you are a VA driver, you will have to deal with:

  • The conviction being placed on your driving record
  • Points being placed on your record
  • The hassle of paying fines
  • Steep insurance hikes
  • Possible suspension
  • Possible revocation

Remember, New York and Virginia are members of the Driver’s License Compact, so they freely share driver information with one another. How can this be?

This means receiving a VA traffic ticket while having a NY license will lead to NY being notified about the ticket you received and vice versa for a ticket received in NY for a VA license holder.

What Can a Traffic Ticket Attorney Do for Me?

Face it: no one wants to travel all the way back to the state they just happened to pass through simply to fight their traffic tickets.

Hiring an attorney allows you to stay at home while your traffic ticket attorney fights for you.

Additionally, your lawyer understands the system better than anyone else, knows how to negotiate with the prosecutor in a way that will get you what you want, and can almost always get you a better deal than if you represented yourself.

Many people wrongly think that the cost of a traffic ticket attorney is simply too much. In reality, this could not be farther from the truth.

If you plead guilty, you might avoid travel costs, but the increase in your insurance and the associated fines will likely be well more than the cost of hiring an attorney.

If you fight the ticket yourself, you have to deal with administrative hurdles, may have to travel back to the state, and will be fighting a battle without the best weapons or ammunition.

Rules of the Road for Virginians

In Virginia, demerit points will usually be assessed against your VA driver’s license.

Essentially, as long as Virginia recognizes the traffic offense you committed in New York, you will receive points on your VA license for it.

Moreover, those points will go toward suspensions and revocations even though the offense was committed in a state other than Virginia.

Consequently, it pays to hire an experienced traffic ticket attorney who can get your traffic ticket reduced to an offense that Virginia would not put points on your license for.

Many times, your traffic ticket attorney will already have a relationship with the prosecutors and it might be easier than you may think to have a favorable plea negotiated for.

How a VA Driver Could Lose His Driving Privileges in NY

If you are an out-of-state driver and accrue 11 points or more, you will lose your New York driving privileges.

This accumulation of 11 points will be determined based on the New York point system, not your home state’s point system.

Therefore, if you are caught speeding 41 miles over the posted speed limit or get cited twice for speeding 21-30 miles over the limit, you will no longer be allowed to drive in the State of New York for a specified duration of time.

Remember, your driver’s license will not be suspended by your home state and NY does not have the authority to suspend an out-of-state driver’s license.

However, since VA and NY are both members of the Driver’s License Compact, VA will honor the “suspension” of your New York driving privileges even though it will not take away your ability to drive elsewhere.

Author Bio

Adam H. Rosenblum of ticketdefenselaw.com  is a traffic ticket attorney licensed to practice in both New York and New Jersey.

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

How Virginia Assesses Points on Your Driving Record

Speeding in Virginia? How many points is that?

Upon receiving a speeding ticket in Virginia, most drivers want to know how many points will be placed on their driving record. Virginia’s Uniform Demerit Point System can be a bit confusing. It is important for both in-state and out-of-state drivers to understand Virginia’s Uniform Demerit Point System.

All Virginia-licensed drivers and residents are subject to Virginia’s Uniform Demerit Point System. The Commonwealth’s demerit point system does not apply to out of state drivers. For example, a person, licensed in North Carolina, convicted of reckless driving eighty-eight (88) miles per hour in a sixty-five (65) mile-per-hour zone in Henrico County General District Court would be subject to North Carolina’s demerit point system, not Virginia’s. As a result, it is important for out-of-state drivers to contact their state’s department of motor vehicles to determine the applicable demerit points associated with their specific charge.

All Virginia drivers start with zero points on their driving records. Virginia licensed drivers receive one positive (+1) point for every year of good driving. In-state drivers may receive positive five (+5) points by voluntarily completing a defensive driving school. However, this can only be done once every two years. Five points are the maximum positive points permitted by law in the state. As a result, the best driver point balance in Virginia is +5 points.

There are three categories of negative point violations: three demerit point violations, four demerit point violations, and six demerit point violations. Examples of six demerit point violations are DUI, reckless driving by speed, speeding in excess of eighty miles per hour, speeding in excess of twenty miles per hour, and driving on a suspended license. For instance, a Virginia licensed driver or resident convicted of DUI would receive six negative points on their driving record. If a person is convicted of more than one demerit point violation with the same offense date, then that person is assessed demerit points for the highest demerit point violation. For example, a person convicted of DUI and speeding seventy-nine miles per hour in a seventy mile per hour zone in Chesterfield County General District Court would be assessed six negative demerit points for the DUI conviction. No demerit points would be assessed for the speeding conviction.

VA speeding ticket lawyers points drivers license

Click here for a full list of Virginia traffic violations and their corresponding demerit points. 

There is no limit to the number of negative points a person may accumulate. A person who accumulates negative twelve demerit points in a twelve consecutive month period or negative twenty-four demerit points in an eighteen consecutive month period will be placed on probation. This probationary period lasts for six months. Any person convicted of a demerit point violation during the probationary period will have their license suspended for ninety days (six demerit point violations), sixty days (four demerit point violations), or forty-five days (three demerit point violations). For example, a person convicted of reckless driving by speed, who is on probation, will have their driver’s license suspended for ninety days because reckless driving by speed is a six demerit point violation. However, people suspended while on probation may be eligible to petition the Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles for a restricted driver’s license.

A person who successfully makes it through the probationary period with no demerit point violations will, then, be placed on an eighteen month control period. A person who receives a demerit point violation during the control period will be placed back on a six month probationary period. Additionally, a person who violates probation will have their probation extended for an additional six months.

The best advice is to try to avoid being placed on probation. You should take even minor traffic infractions seriously because demerit points tend to sneak up on people. For example, a person with zero points who pays off three speeding tickets they received within the same year may be placed on probation. Experienced traffic attorneys, like the lawyers at Weiland Upton, know how to advise their clients to avoid the accumulation of demerit points from reckless driving and speeding tickets in Virginia.

Weiland Upton is a leading firm of Virginia Speeding Ticket Lawyers

Call (804) 355-8037 for a free consultation

Virginia DUI and Reckless Driving: License Suspension

Drivers Risk a Suspended License for DWI or Reckless Driving in VA

Virginia judges are authorized to suspend a person’s driving privileges within the state for convictions of reckless driving by speed, reckless driving resulting from an accident, and driving under the influence. Any license suspension imposed for reckless driving is left to the discretion of the court and may be as long as six months. Out-of-state drivers convicted of DUI in Virginia face a mandatory one year suspension of license. Such suspensions only affect a person’s ability to drive in Virginia. A Virginia judge cannot suspend an out-of-state driver’s license to drive in any other state. As a result, a driver with a Pennsylvania license convicted of a DUI in Virginia can operate a car in any state, except Virginia. However, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles may communicate the suspension to Pennsylvania, at which point the appropriate government entity in Pennsylvania can choose to suspend that person’s driver’s license.

Virginia judges are barred by law from seizing an out-of-state driver’s license after suspending that person’s privilege to drive in Virginia. The applicable part of Virginia Code §46.2-398 states:

For any revocation or suspension of a privilege to drive in Virginia of a person who does not have a Virginia driver’s license but who does have a valid driver’s license from another jurisdiction, the court shall not order the physical surrender of such license.

This prevents Virginia courts from physically taking a person’s out-of-state driver’s license once the court suspends or revokes that person’s driving privileges in Virginia. So, the court cannot take a driver’s North Carolina license after convicting that person of reckless driving by speed. The court may only suspend that person’s ability to drive in Virginia. The person can drive in North Carolina or any other state up until their North Carolina driver’s license is suspended by the appropriate government entity in North Carolina.

Courts may issue out-of-state motorists restricted driving privileges in Virginia. This typically happens when a person possesses a driver’s license from a bordering state—Maryland, North Carolina, Tennessee, or West Virginia—and works in Virginia. For instance, a Virginia judge is able to grant restricted driving privileges to a person convicted of DUI in Virginia who is licensed in Maryland and commutes to Caroline County, VA. Under this scenario, the person would be permitted to drive from Maryland to their place of employment in Caroline County. They may also be allowed to drive to and from school or be granted a variety of other restricted driving privileges as deemed worthy by the court.

A reckless driving or DUI conviction in Virginia can change your entire livelihood, especially your ability to travel freely to work, school, or to the doctor. And driving on a suspended license will only compound your legal woes down the line. Do not risk having your driving privileges suspended in a Virginia courtroom. Contact an experienced attorney if you’ve been charged with a DUI or reckless driving in Virginia.

Weiland Upton is a leading firm of Virginia DWI and Reckless Driving Lawyers

Call (804) 355-8037 for a free consultation