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Phillips Esq.
Phillips Esq., Attorney-at-law
Category: Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 17513
Experience:  B.A.; M.B.A.; J.D.
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I got a speeding ticket couple weeks ago, 67 over 45, this

Customer Question

Hi
JA: Hello. How can we help?
Customer: I got a speeding ticket couple weeks ago
JA: OK. The Traffic Lawyer will need to help you with this. Have you consulted a lawyer yet?
Customer: 67 over 45
JA: Please give me a bit more information, so we can help you best.
Customer: this is my first ticket in the US
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Traffic Lawyer should know?
Customer: I have been driving in the US since 2008
JA: I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Traffic Lawyer about your situation and connect you two.
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Traffic Law
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 8 months ago.

Thank you for using Just Answer.

I look forward to assisting you, but I do need a little more information first please. First, what state is the ticket in?

Second, what is your specific legal question about the ticket? Are you asking what the potential penalties are?

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
it is Virginia.
I would like to know according to my clean record and the fact that the officer hasn't given me the reckless, if I show up in the court, may the judge give me reckless driving? any speeding over 22 mph is considered as reckless but the officer didn't give me it. so, I am thinking about showing up in the court and requesting reducing the penalty (considering less than 20 mph to avoid any reckless). this is one way.
another way is that O prepay the fine. my second question is that if I prepay the fine, since the ticket is speeding, will it be changed to reckless?
What is the best thing for me to do?
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Did you get my response?
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 8 months ago.

Thank you for your reply.

Because reckless driving in Virginia is not a traffic infraction, but a class 1 misdemeanor (that means it's a criminal matter, and can actually end up a on record, and show up on a background check if convicted). Just by receiving the reckless driving ticket, you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor. You will need to read applications carefully to see if they are asking about “charges” or “convictions.” If they ask about misdemeanor charges, you have to answer “yes.”Unlike your driving record, the criminal record remains for life. Virginia doesn’t even allow expungement (erasing the records later on) if the court convicts you.

Therefore, what I would strongly encourage you to do before your court date is to speak with a traffic lawyer in your area before your court date (many offer free or low cost consultations). 67 in a 45 isn't going to carry the high end penalties that could normally come with a reckless driving conviction. By that, I mean you're not looking at jail time for this (yes, reckless driving can result in jail time), nor are you looking at the higher end fine (which can be up to $2500).

Depending upon all the facts of the case, an average reckless driving fine could be in the neighborhood of $300 to $1,000. Definitely pricey. And then of course you have to add on court costs, which are about $80. Many judges will use a loose rule of thumb of imposing approximately $10 per every mile over the limit. Virginia law gives you at least 30 days to pay anything you owe to the court. If you need additional time, you can ask the court for a longer payment deadline.

You then have to consider the other consequences --your insurance premiums could jump a lot with a reckless conviction,

and you're looking at a significant number of points. Every moving violation carries a set number of points, either 3, 4, or 6.

Reckless driving carries the maximum number of demerit points for any offense in Virginia. If the court convicts you and you have a ***** *****cense, DMV will assess 6 demerit points. The conviction will remain on your driving record for 11 years. If you accumulate too many demerit points too quickly, DMV may send you to a driver improvement clinic or suspend your license altogether. That is why I say the most important thing for you to do before your court date is to speak with a lawyer.

Now, that said, I don't want you to think all hope is lost. Many courts will consider your good driving record, and have considerable discretion is reducing the ticket to a lesser charge.

Importantly, judges can use their discretion to reduce a reckless driving charge to “improper driving.” Improper driving is a mere traffic infraction with a fine of no more than $500. Improper driving only carries three DMV points, and it is removed from your record after three years.

Virginia Code 46.2-869:

Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this article, upon the trial of any person charged with reckless driving where the degree of culpability is slight, the court in its discretion may find the accused not guilty of reckless driving but guilty of improper driving. However, an attorney for the Commonwealth may reduce a charge of reckless driving to improper driving at any time prior to the court’s decision and shall notify the court of such change. Improper driving shall be punishable as a traffic infraction punishable by a fine of not more than $500.

Also, some judges send drivers to a driver improvement clinic to have the charge completely dismissed! You'd still have to likely pay court costs and the cost of the driver improvement school, but it's a lot less then a fine and you wouldn't have to worry about insurance increases and demerits on your license. But, I don't recommend necessarily doing the driving class before you go to court. That’s because Virginia DMV awards five safe driving points for completing the driving school voluntarily. Some judges see that as double dipping. They don’t want you to get five bonus points and then obtain a reduced charge in court. With those judges, doing driving school without consulting an attorney might hurt your case.

Along with improper driving and driving school, some judges use community service as a tool in traffic cases. It can be a way to punish defendants but also to give people a chance to earn a break on the charge.

Sometimes I recommend that clients complete some community service before their trial date. Doing volunteer work ahead of time shows initiative, remorse, and that you’re taking the charge seriously. Depending upon the judge, this can help obtain a favorable result in court.

Again, a local attorney familiar with the judges in your area where you got the ticket would know best what you are looking at. In the absence of other possible defenses (eg --the radar was wrong), your best assets is your excellent driving record.

If you need clarification or additional information, please reply and I'll be happy to assist further. Thank you.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
I know all of these things about reckless driving. nothing is new. As I explained, my ticket is speeding now. I want to know although the ticket is speeding, is there any chance that the judge changes it to reckless based on 22 mph over speeding? I have also option of paying the ticket and not going to the court. what will happen if I decide not to court and pay the fine?
Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 8 months ago.

A different Professional here.

Your Questions;

I know all of these things about reckless driving. nothing is new. As I explained, my ticket is speeding now. I want to know although the ticket is speeding, is there any chance that the judge changes it to reckless based on 22 mph over speeding?

Response 1: Regrettably, yes. The Judge may find you guilty of reckless driving. See Code of Virginia Title 46.2 Chapter 8 Section 46.2-862

I have also option of paying the ticket and not going to the court. what will happen if I decide not to court and pay the fine?

Response 2: You may be assigned "Demerit Points." The accumulation of "Demerit Points" on your record may result in suspension or revocation of your license. Also, your auto insurance rate may increase.

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