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Old 07-03-2013, 02:57 PM
 
Location: Virginia-Shenandoah Valley
7,670 posts, read 13,356,099 times
Reputation: 7464

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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbdk View Post
Thanks Bigfoot for quick reply. Appreciate it.

I am surprised to see that i got 10 attorneys flyers in mail in last few days.. seems like it is well connected process.

how do u select good attorney ?. Money is not a big concern for me at this point.

just want to get over with minimal damage.

Arrests/tickets are a matter of public record. Lawyers can easily obtain everyone's info. Look for an attorney that works well with the prosecutors but that can be hard to really determine as they can fabricate. Might look for one with previous experience as a prosecutor in the Loudoun court system.
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Old 07-03-2013, 03:54 PM
 
3 posts, read 7,911 times
Reputation: 10
One more question.

Office wrote " reckless (Improper)" in ticket. does it means that i got 2 violations .? one is reckless , another one is improper . or did he intend to give improper driving ticket but since it is accident he has to give reckless. Improper is simply a traffic infraction much better than reckless.
it is kind of confusing. is it allowed to call officer before the court date to ask his opinion about judgement ?
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Old 07-03-2013, 05:20 PM
 
Location: Virginia-Shenandoah Valley
7,670 posts, read 13,356,099 times
Reputation: 7464
I'm confused by that also. Officers cannot charge Improper. Only a commonwealth attorney or judge can reduce it in court. It's possible the judges allow officers to write it like that as a sign it should likely be Improper instead of Reckless.
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Old 07-07-2013, 07:09 PM
 
9 posts, read 14,934 times
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*************************************ADVICE PLEASE***********************************

Let me just preface the following incident with some facts: I'm a 22 year old resident of Maryland. I have only had my license/provisional for less than a year. I just never had the need to really get one because I would commute to umd and my job by bus/metro. That being said I don't have a bad record mainly because I didn't have much time to build up a record. This is my first ticket EVER. Not even a single parking ticket since I got my license 8 months ago.

THE INCIDENT: Yesterday I was on my way home with a friend from Tyson's Corner to Bethesda. I wasn't driving aggressively, trying to race anyone, annoyed by the drivers around me, weaving around cars or had road rage. I just got caught up in a conversation with my best friend and was going 86 on a 55. I know its really bad. The fact that I wasn't aggressive doesn't make the fact that I was speeding like an a-hole any better. I was recklessly unaware of my speed.
I was on 495 when I got pulled over by a cop. This is the first time that I have gotten pulled over by a cop so I didn't even know I was getting pulled over. I thought the siren was supposed to go off. I believe the trooper was annoyed b/c it took me a while to realize and when I finally did pull over I didn't have much room on the shoulder. So on his speaker thing from the car he told me to keep moving forward until I got more shoulder room. The trooper came up to me and the first thing he said: you know you were going 86 on a 55. I said I'm sorry officer. Then he asked the usual license and registration. He asked who the car belong to (my dad). Did you have anything to drink. I said no, but I immediately corrected my self stating wait yes I had a beer around 9:30 (it states 1:00 am on my Virginia Uniform Summons). He asked "just one" about four times, each time I reassured him I only had one beer. I finally said, "Officer I promise you I only had one beer". Then he asked me to follow his pen with my eyes I guess he didn't believe me b/c when he came back from the car he asked me to get out of my car and what my level of education was. Then asked me to holding my leg up (messed up on that) ,heel to toe walking (not on that), asked do I know how to count backwards then asked to count from 30 to 19 (went very slow). I can tell he was really annoyed with me. I wasn't rude just nervous and even informed him I was nervous. Then he told me to wait here and came back with a breathalyzer pointed to it, stating that "its Virginia state law to take the test". I was very cooperative I wanted to take the test to prove I wasn't drunk. But I think I did something to annoy or have him dislike me even more (I believe he was annoyed with me to begin with b/c I wasn't calm; I'm just generally a really nervous person, this situation almost gave me a panic attack. I'm sure he mistook my nerves for lying/being drunk/or even retarded; level of education really?). He took off this plastic thing where I put my mouth on and threw it on the ground I instinctively picked it up. He said just leave it on the ground but I didn't and he kind of just stared at me for a few seconds. Anyways I assumed I passed b/c he told me to go back to my car and let me drive home. But before I left he gave me the ticket (or so I thought). I asked how much do I pay? He said its not a ticket, you have to go to court. I was really confused, b/c I have never heard of this (I feel like an idiot but its the truth) so I asked him if he could explain. I wanted to punch myself for asking b/c that seemed to annoy him more. He just said the same thing you have to go to court. Then I said something really stupid and I really regret saying it. I'm even embarrassed to mention it on the forum. I said: I can't get a warning (eeeeek my older sister gave me so much s*** for not manning up). He obviously said no. On the paper it states reckless driving 46.2-862 . 86 55 lidar (I'm not sure if he meant to say laser).

I guess my question is what should I do. I only work 3 hours a day for $9.50/hr. because I still go to school. I live with my parents but that doesn't mean I live off my parents. I pay for all of my own things. The car is insured by my Dad. I am not included in his insurance. If I get points would that affect my Dad's insurance rate? How long do points last. I can live with a hefty fine, and maybe even points (I don't have a car or insurance) but its the criminal record that bothers me. Is this a criminal charge? Is this always going to be on my criminal record, meaning in my future jobs do I have to reveal this? Am I going to get jail time? I went on to the fairfax county general traffic court website and looked up recently finalized cases. This one guy got jail time he went 93 on 55. This other guy got his charge amended to speeding with a $200 fine and without lawyer. But most who got their charge amended to an infraction had a lawyer. If I can't get a lawyer what should I plea. Is there something besides guilty but not innocent? What should I explain to the judge? Any advice will help greatly. I have been reading a lot of the posts here but I felt like since my relationship with Trooper wasn't super great that probably doesn't help my case. He might have not been annoyed by me, it could have all just been in my head. But if it wasn't that might influence my outcome with the judge.

thanks ahead of time,

Carolina
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Old 07-08-2013, 03:24 AM
 
Location: Virginia-Shenandoah Valley
7,670 posts, read 13,356,099 times
Reputation: 7464
"THE INCIDENT: Yesterday I was on my way home with a friend from Tyson's Corner to Bethesda. I wasn't driving aggressively, trying to race anyone, annoyed by the drivers around me, weaving around cars or had road rage. I just got caught up in a conversation with my best friend and was going 86 on a 55. I know its really bad. The fact that I wasn't aggressive doesn't make the fact that I was speeding like an a-hole any better. I was recklessly unaware of my speed."

I read this portion and my jaw dropped. There is no way humanly possible you can do 86/55 and not realize it. 70/55 is possible but not 86. I skimmed the rest of the post. Lidar is right. Google it.

This is Fairfax Co court and you'll not likely be able to go in yourself and get a deal. It may be tough to hire a lawyer but you most certainly should.
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Old 07-08-2013, 07:14 AM
 
9 posts, read 14,934 times
Reputation: 10
I know it really does sound unbelievable I wasn't paying attention, which is probably why it took me awhile to realize I was getting pulled over. At the time I was having a heated conversation with my friend. When the trooper told me 86 I just couldn't believe him but he's probably right, I thought at the most I must have been going 75. But he knows better than I do.
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Old 07-08-2013, 10:56 AM
 
21 posts, read 36,617 times
Reputation: 15
There's been debate on whether RD is a criminal charge. I believe its classified as a misdemeanor but technically not a criminal charge.

86/55 probably warrants hiring a lawyer. Since you have no record and this is your 1st offense, I would guess you have a decent chance of getting this reduced to speeding or improper driving but that will depend on the prosecutor and judge. An attorney will cost you a pretty penny but it's your best chance to get this pleaded down. If you try to defend yourself, you *may* get off, but you're at the mercy of the judge and 31 mph over isn't worth taking a risk in court. Either way, you will get points on your driving record (6 for RD, 4 for speeding, 3 for improper driving) - which will probably increase your insurance premiums for your dad- just not sure by how much.
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Old 07-08-2013, 11:18 AM
 
1,299 posts, read 2,265,512 times
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I recently had the pleasure of spending some time in fairfax traffic court so I'll just throw in some observations (I went to a couple different courtrooms and saw different judges).

- no one was getting a break on HOV violations - the fine was the fine (most were first time so $125)
- no one was getting a break on the charges, only on the fines. People with negative points got no breaks at all.
- judges were very nice in recommending to people that they come back with lawyers if their charges were serious
- no traffic school or probation before judgement (judge said this is county code or something)
- simple stuff (didn't have license, expired tags/inspection, etc) was dismissed if you had it fixed

So honestly pretty brutal compared to Arlington County. I think it's very lame that you can't talk to a prosecutor or make a deal unless you have an attorney (unlike other VA counties). Not trying to scare anyone, but I was surprised to see so little leeway in the charges. Would definitely recommend taking the driver class for +5 before court if you have negative points. The only reckless charges I saw were on people with bad records - I'd probably get a lawyer if you were doing 85+ or more than 25 over.
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Old 07-08-2013, 01:39 PM
 
2 posts, read 8,348 times
Reputation: 11
Default My Reckless Driving Experience - A Warning

Before I get into my reckless driving experience - I want to warn other Northern VA drivers that drive west on Rt. 50 and continue to points west...Middleburg, The Plains, etc. To access these places (and to return), you must drive through the traffic circles if using Rt. 50. BE VERY CAREFUL!!!! There are three circles. When coming out of the circles, either onto Rt. 15 if headed either towards Manassass or toward Leesburg or coming out on Rt. 50 either East of West, the speed limit goes from 25 to 50 in a VERY SHORT DISTANCE. In fact, when you exit the circle, you can see the 50 mph sign about 400 feet in front of you. But, at that point, you are still legally required to drive 25 mph.

CAN YOU SAY SPEED TRAP??? Most people start to accelerate out of the circles BEFORE the limit goes up. And they do so aggressively.

In August of 2010, at about 10:00 pm, I was going through the circles. I was talking on the phone and not paying much attention to my speed. I had been going through the circle area at about 30 mph, and then immediately exiting the circle, I did like so many others and gunned it. I was heading East on 50 toward my home in Ashburn. The police officer was behind me from the time I entered the traffic circle from Rt 15 and followed me until just before 50 expands to two lanes each way before pulling me over. Initially I was shocked because I knew that I was not exceeding the speed limit while on 50. What I forgot about - since the police officer had not pulled me over immediately is that I had it up to 50 mph very quickly coming out of the traffic circle. So, the net of this is the officer tracked me on radar (and he made a big point of telling me that he hit me with radar) going 46 mph in a 25 mph zone. In the state of VA, it is reckless driving if you go more than 19 mph over the speed limit. And, at that time (not sure if it has changed) it is a misdemeanor, a criminal charge if you are convicted. Now the police officer (in my case Loudoun County Deputy) could have cut it down to 19 mph over and charged me with speeding, but he did not.

Since my job requires a type of security clearance that would not tolerate a criminal conviction, I went into panic mode. I had no reasonable defense and a poor driving record with many speeding tickets. Through my professional network, I was given the name of an attorney who knew everyone in the courthouse, and was well respected by judges and prosecutes. And, of course, it did not hurt that he wrote and taught most of the continuing education for the VA bar on defense of serious traffic accidents. Reckless driving was one of his more minor offenses. He gave me good but simple advice - take the driving course that is offered by the division of motor vehicles and pass it. If you do it on your own - you get plus five points -if you wait for the court to order you to do it - only plus three. And, like many others have stated here - get your speedometer tested for accuracy. But, he gave me no promises. The biggest factor for me was my poor driving record. He said that I would not do jail time. In Loudoun County, most of the judges give jail time to reckless of 50 and greater mph over the speed limit.

We waited to see the judge that would be assigned to my hearing (we were going to request a continuance if he thought the judge would likely not rule in my favor) and on my court date, my lawyer spoke to the prosecutor to try to make a deal for me. The great news for me - the prosecutor agreed to reduce my offense to speeding 15-19 mph over. My lawyer told me to take the deal as the prosecutor's first words out of his mouth after my lawyer asked for leniency for me was "Well Jon, have you seen her driving record?". This situation absolutely scared me straight. I have not had ANY moving violations since that time - let alone speeding. I am honked at because I do the speed limit or 3 -4 mph above everywhere I go. I have people riding my bumper constantly. I ride in the far right lane on the highway as not to anger my fellow motorists. It has been hard on my type A personality to do this.

Folks - VA is a police state. It is not worth it. My auto insurance has dropped to less than a third of what it cost to insure me in 2010. Use your cruise control. Pay attention. A class 1 misdemeanor (which in 2010 was what a reckless driving conviction got you) along with a permanent criminal record is not worth it. Not to mention possible jail time and fines.
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Old 07-08-2013, 01:57 PM
 
2 posts, read 8,348 times
Reputation: 11
This is in response to an earlier post that mentioned there was some debate about reckless driving being a criminal charge:

A reckless driving conviction in the state of VA is most definitely a criminal charge.

Virginia State code § 46.2-868 defines the penalties for reckless driving. According to this code, any individual found guilty of reckless driving will receive a Class 1 misdemeanor conviction on their criminal record. Interesting enough, this is the same classification given to those found guilty of a DWI or DUI in Virginia. The penalties associated with a Class 1 misdemeanor reckless driving charge include a maximum of $2,500 in fines and up to 1 year in jail. From what I have seen, most judges will NOT put you in jail unless your were doing 50 mph or more above the posted speed limit. It's also possible to having your driving privileges suspended for a period of up to 6 months, in addition to 6 demerit points on your driver's license.

There is also the close cousin to the misdemeanor reckless driving - FELONY RECKLESS DRIVING. If you are found guilty of misdemeanor reckless driving AND 1. you were driving without a license because it was suspended or revoked (for another traffic offense) OR you kill someone while committing your reckless driving - you could be convicted of felony reckless driving.

Last edited by NoVA_Loudoun_County; 07-08-2013 at 02:02 PM.. Reason: Addiitional information
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