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Old 12-13-2008, 09:56 AM
 
4 posts, read 15,377 times
Reputation: 10

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I am a non-VA resident. I got a reckless driving ticket this morning in Northern VA. But I think it was not the "reckless" case. I need your help!
I was driving from a local road to Beltway. From the local road, I found a mini-truck and a police car standing together on the right lane of the merge before Beltway. At first, I thought the truck was caught by the police by over-speeding. There are two lanes in merging area, but only left lane was available because of these truck and police car, so I tried to drive through left lane and accelerate to get the Beltway. Then I realized the left lane had partial icy condition. A policeman standing right lane with the mini-truck realized my car was approaching and warned me to reduce the speed by waving his arms. So, I tried to reduce the speed gently. It was slippery, so my car was a little winding left and right, but I was able to pass through it. However, the policeman immediately jumped into his police car, and caught me before hitting Beltway, then gave me a "reckless driving" ticket, because 1) I was too fast on icy condition, and 2) I was supposed to slow down when police car is standing there. Then I learned that the reason why the mini-truck stopped on the right lane; it slipped on the icy condition as I did, and hit the right side wall. I was in similar condition, but was not reckless, or over-speeding. The ticket shows there is no prepayment fine option, I must appear on the court later on designated date. I have been driving in the US 10 years, and there is no criminal record and never been court in my life. After coming back home, I've done research about this "reckless driving in VA" and learned that it can be very severe and harsh. I think I could drive a little slower if I noticed the ice quicker, but I did my best and I was not trying to drive crazily, and I don't think myself guilty. My driving record will be bad if I will be judged as "guilty". Please help. Should I hire a lawyer to face this case?

Last edited by dominiq23; 12-13-2008 at 10:36 AM..
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Old 12-13-2008, 10:08 AM
 
Location: NH and lovin' it!
1,780 posts, read 3,413,400 times
Reputation: 1318
Hi, dominiq23.
Sorry about your experience in VA. For general reference, when driving in conditions where ice MAY form, it is always prudent to slow down to a cautious speed. Reckless driving can mean lots of things in the States, but driving too fast for conditions is one of the definitions.
Don't worry too much about the court appearance. Reckless driving IS a serious offense, but if it is your first ticket, you can probably get off with a lesser charge or even better. You might consider getting a lawyer to help you out.
I have actally been in your shoes, and was given a lesser charge because I had a good driving record and had not had even a ticket in over 25 years. My attorney suggested I apply for driving school but was turned down because I had too many "good points." That was in my favor in court, as well as going through the obligatory check on my odometer.
An attorney can explain all that to you. Good luck. Please post back and let us know what happens!
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Old 12-13-2008, 10:44 AM
 
4 posts, read 15,377 times
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Hi JoanD' Arc, Thank you very much for your quick response. I've been quite depressed from this morning; I do appreciate your comment. Yes I hope my past good driving record will be helpful. Finding a good attorney would be next thing to do, but I have no experience in the past...I have no idea how much it will cost? Should I find a VA attorney who is familiar with VA law?
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Old 12-13-2008, 11:08 AM
 
Location: NH and lovin' it!
1,780 posts, read 3,413,400 times
Reputation: 1318
Quote:
Originally Posted by dominiq23 View Post
Hi JoanD' Arc, Thank you very much for your quick response. I've been quite depressed from this morning; I do appreciate your comment. Yes I hope my past good driving record will be helpful. Finding a good attorney would be next thing to do, but I have no experience in the past...I have no idea how much it will cost? Should I find a VA attorney who is familiar with VA law?
You are welcome! Yes, absolutely get an attorney who is familiar with VA law. You are going to have to go to court there, anyway, so you need someone who can represent you there.

Get out the yellow pages and read the ads. Ask friends or co-workers if they know anyone who could represent you. Make several calls so you can get a feel for the kind of person you need, how knowlegable they are, etc.

I don't know much about legal inner workings, but you might call someone at the courthouse and ask how it all works, how to find a lawyer, etc.

It's a hassle but you will come out better for it in the end. I'm sorry to tell you it's going to cost more than you think, but get prices from the attorneys you call.
When's your court date??
PS: My ticket was in VA, as well!
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Old 12-13-2008, 04:24 PM
 
4 posts, read 15,377 times
Reputation: 10
Red face Thank you very much for your message

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoanD'Arc View Post
When's your court date??
PS: My ticket was in VA, as well!
My court date is Dec.22, Monday. It is very soon... I will try to find a lawyer asap. Thank you very much for your message.
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Old 12-13-2008, 04:31 PM
 
Location: NH and lovin' it!
1,780 posts, read 3,413,400 times
Reputation: 1318
Quote:
Originally Posted by dominiq23 View Post
My court date is Dec.22, Monday. It is very soon... I will try to find a lawyer asap. Thank you very much for your message.

You are very welcome. Do write and tell me how it goes!
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Old 12-13-2008, 06:29 PM
 
Location: PWC
35 posts, read 103,626 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dominiq23 View Post
The ticket shows there is no prepayment fine option, I must appear on the court later on designated date.
1. Reckless driving in VA is no "I'm guilty here is my money" option as you noted.
2. Reckless driving in VA is considered serious and a lawyer can probably help. Might be worth calling a few in the county where you were ticketed and see if they will at least counsel you beforehand.
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Old 12-16-2008, 10:49 AM
 
Location: Columbia, MD
553 posts, read 1,511,584 times
Reputation: 392
Agree with other posters...don't show up at court without a lawyer. Depending on the county, they take reckless driving as seriously or more seriously than a DWI.

If you haven't already, find a lawyer in the county where you were ticketed who specializes in these types of traffic cases.

Also, make sure you take some sort of online safe driving class (costs ~$100) ASAP.

I had a reckless driving ticket for speeding in Prince William county a few years ago, and the lawyer cost me $750 but spared me from going to jail. With the lawyer, I was fortunate to get out with court/ticket fees totaling ~$300, loss of license for 30 days, and a 30 day suspended jail sentence.

I should add my offense was speeding on the highway at night on the way home from a movie - I was doing 83 in a 65 zone with no cars around anywhere.

A couple others who were in my session of court for very similar reckless driving offenses but were present without a lawyer; one was sentenced to 30 days of jail (on weekends) and lost her license for 6 months, another was sentenced to 30 days of jail (on weekends) and lost his license for a year.
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Old 01-19-2009, 12:16 PM
 
4 posts, read 15,377 times
Reputation: 10
Smile Outcome---thank you for all your helpful comments !!

Hi Everyone, thank you very much for all your help and comments. I'd like to let you know the conclusion!! It ended up like this...I found a very good lawyer, and he helped me a lot, although it was, of course, expensive. The "Reckless driving: too fast on icy condition" was reduced to "improper driving". What I need to do is to attend one day driving school ($55) and get a certificate, and pay $75 fine that is all. I also was told I will get 3 points in my driving record in VA, but I am not VA-resident, so I am not exactly sure how this points will affect on my driving record in my state (MD). My clean driving history (point zero) and photography I took after I got tickets were very helpful, I believe. Thank you very much again!!
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Old 01-19-2009, 01:09 PM
 
10,606 posts, read 12,138,982 times
Reputation: 6500
Congrats!

When I used to live in Maryland, my husband got a speeding ticket in Virginia. The points did not transfer to Virginia; however, a conviction of speeding did transmit from the VA motor vehicles to Maryland. That was many years ago. Not sure if the points transfer these days.
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