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Old 04-02-2008, 09:42 PM
 
9 posts, read 50,604 times
Reputation: 11

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Hi everyone, I'm new to this forum, but I was wondering if I could get some help. I was driving recently with two friends (one over 18), and when I stopped at a stoplight, the man in the car behind mine repeatedly kept inching closer to my car and stopping suddenly, and when we looked back, he smiled threateningly, and waved. It was obvious he was intentionally trying to annoy me and my friends, or to attract our attention. Either way, I felt threatened, and sped up to get farther away from his car, in the hopes that someone would pull in behind me, and I would no longer be in front of him. Just my luck, during the process of speeding up, once I had gotten relatively far from the other car, I got pulled over for doing 65 in a 35 zone (I know). The officer barely talked to me before issuing me a reckless driving ticket. I didn't tell the officer why I was speeding, as I was in shock at getting pulled over for the first time. I have a perfect driving record otherwise. I was wondering, what would be the regular sentence be for reckless driving by a minor? How should I plead? Should I get a lawyer? What is the standard court procedure?

Any advice/answers would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 04-03-2008, 03:03 PM
 
9 posts, read 50,604 times
Reputation: 11
Default Also...

Should I even mention that I was being harassed by another driver? He was tailgating me/pulling up too close to my car and stopping for about a mile through a town center, after the incident at the light, so I know it was intentional. Still, I don't have any proof, and didn't mention it to the officer (because I was kind of in shock). I'm worried the judge might not believe me.

Not sure if this helps, but I'm 17, a white female, and a stereotypical "good kid" going to a top-20 college. Also, I was extremely respectful to the officer.
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Old 04-03-2008, 03:12 PM
 
Location: TX
3,029 posts, read 10,640,844 times
Reputation: 1362
you were going 65 in 35. you say you have a "perfect driving record" well you've only been driving for a year. You got flustered and paniced and speed up, you could have just pulled into a gas station parking lot or slowed way down. YOu could have turned off the road etc...you have a cell phone right? you could have called 911 and told the dispatcher about the other driver.

your actions will seem reckless and are reckless. just my 2 cents.
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Old 04-03-2008, 03:32 PM
 
9 posts, read 50,604 times
Reputation: 11
I definitely recognize that what I did was stupid, and yes, reckless. I got scared, basically, didn't know what to do, and definitely didn't handle the situation well.

Problem is, I don't know if the judge will recognize the incident as a stupid mistake. I'm worried he/she might attribute it to my being young and blatantly disregarding the laws. Which would probably affect his/her ruling, just a little.

Basically, I'm not trying to justify what I did, if I reacted poorly in such a situation, maybe I don't deserve to drive. But I didn't act with criminal intention. And I don't mind being strapped with a huge fine/ having my licence suspended, but I do really want to avoid having it on my record, since I want to work for the state department eventually. Do judges generally consider factors like that?
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Old 04-03-2008, 11:29 PM
 
Location: Arlington, VA
1,430 posts, read 3,480,936 times
Reputation: 773
Well not sure if this helps but usually when getting a speeding ticket it is wise to plead "no contest" unless you feel that you were unfairly treated by the law enforcement system. I've had several lol...none reckless!

I highly doubt the judge will consider your reasons, you had too many other alternatives. You could have 1. pulled over and let the other driver go around, 2. called the police and reported his behavior, 3. ignored the driver all together, 4. given him a choice finger gesture of your own, the list goes on. I'm not the judge so I can't say how he/she will rule but we all live in the DC area and know there are lots of crazy ass drivers here. The mere fact that someone is tailgating or making certain gestures isn't really grounds to go drag racing on the highway.

I'm not really saying this applies to you because I obviously wasn't there, but judges have heard any excuse you can throw at them (plus many more) a million times. It's the same with telling that to a cop when you are pulled over, believe me I've tried a few creative ones, they basically said sorry about your luck, you still broke the law.

From your comments I think you might have somewhat rosy expectations of the legal system, especially with regard to status. The fact that you are a stereotypical "good-kid" going to a top 20 college is null, people in that category break the law just like anybody else. Try not to think that it is the big bad evil kids who aren't going to a top 20 college that are the ones who will always get in legal trouble.

To echo what 5stones said do yourself a favor and don't tell the judge you have a "perfect driving record," you are 17 and have had your license for a whole year!

I'm not trying to sound harsh, believe me we all make mistakes, but in all honesty the punishment for this will be hard to avoid, i mean it is considered reckless driving to go 15 mph over the speed limit, you were going double that. I wish you the best of luck though, getting your first ticket always sucks!

Last edited by NOVAmtneer82; 04-03-2008 at 11:40 PM..
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Old 04-04-2008, 12:03 AM
 
9 posts, read 50,604 times
Reputation: 11
If I do plead no contest, though, would I still get the chance to allocute the charges? I do want to apologize for acting like an idiot...and maybe try and explain the circumstance. There's not much else I can do...

And I'm definitely not saying I should get a break because of status, or that smart people don't break the law. I mentioned it because I was thinking that that kind of thing might show responsibility and rationality in other aspects of life? I'm not sure if it'd work in my favor, kind of like saying I haven't received any previous warnings or anything. But is it worth mention?

Also, I hear the 2007 driving penalty law was recently repealed, about two weeks ago. Should I expect any difference in treatment? I spoke with people who received reckless driving convictions before the law was passed, who got away without a misdemeanor on their record...
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Old 04-04-2008, 06:50 AM
 
Location: Metro Washington DC
13,026 posts, read 19,850,532 times
Reputation: 7640
The fact that you did not tell the officer, immediately tells me that the judge wouldn't believe your story.
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Old 04-04-2008, 09:27 AM
 
Location: Arlington, VA
1,430 posts, read 3,480,936 times
Reputation: 773
I agree with the above poster, I know you were scared and nervous from getting pulled over but it was a BIG MISTAKE to not tell the police officer about that mans behavior. That is almost an absolute guarantee that the judge will not believe your story.

If you feel that you have a chance at getting this overturned then I would NOT plead no contest, I was just saying that is what you usually should do for tickets. I personally think your chances are slim to none, emphasis on the none...BUT if you feel that you were indeed wronged by the legal system then plead not guilty.
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Old 04-05-2008, 09:22 AM
 
9 posts, read 50,604 times
Reputation: 11
I definitely should have told the cop. I just...wasn't thinking at the time. Another bad choice on my part.

Still, by pleading no contest, then explaining why, would the judge possibly consider reducing the penalty, to some extent?
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Old 04-05-2008, 12:20 PM
 
1,134 posts, read 2,529,879 times
Reputation: 486
With a clean record you'll land a $300-ish fine, $700 for Lawyer. 5 points, with no license suspension or jail time.

That's roughly what I landed in Fauquier county doing 83 in a 45 on a motorcycle.

Fairfax is typically more strict than Fauquier.

Getting a lawyer helps in reducing one's sentence and potentially finding a mistake the cop make (very rare). It means you are taking this seriously, and besides that, these people are all lawyers patting each others backs.
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