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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 118237
Experience:  Attorney with over 20 years law enforcement, prosecution, civil rights and defense experience
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I was pulled over in Bristol, VA for a speeding. The officer

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I was pulled over in Bristol, VA for a speeding. The officer says I was going 86 in a 70 mph zone. In the ticket he wrote me up for reckless driving. It says I have to go to court. This is my first ticket in VA and I am licensed in MD. Currently I am a student at University of Tennessee, which is where I was headed when I got pulled over. I had my car on cruise control at 75, but when the cop saw me I was going down a hill. I honestly don't think I could my car could have been going 86 by the time I got down the hill maybe 80-82 at the most. But anyway, what kind of penalty do you think I'm likely to get? And what actions do you think I should take to prevent a big penalty?

Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking.

In VA this is a very serious violation, so while you might not want to hear this, you need to get a lawyer to represent you and fight this ticket. In Virginia speeding in excess of 20 mph over the limit or over 80 mph is statutory reckless driving. This violation carries a maximum statutory penalty is twelve months in jail, six months suspension of your Virginia driver’s license or six months suspension of your privilege to operate a motor vehicle in Virginia if you are licensed elsewhere, plus a fine of up to $2,500. The speed at which a judge will put you in jail varies from county to county, some judges will do so at 85, others at 90 and others at 100. So as you can see, this is not a violation to play with.

VA will report your suspension to MD as well and MD will honor the suspension. The lawyer can negotiate the speed over the limit and can also negotiate for you to take a driver's improvement class to get the ticket reduced or dismissed, but no matter what you will have to get represented and defend against this citation.

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Thank you very much for your wonderful feedback.

I am sorry you do not like the VA laws and you were clocked at 86 miles per hour. All we can do is report to you the status of the laws in VA, we do not make up the laws or the facts of your situation, so blaming us for the way your facts and the VA law are is quite disingenuous. You were provided the legal information you asked for based on the actual VA law and you never sought additional information so we do not know what more you may have wanted.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I want to know specifically how the laws in Bristol, VA worked for reckless driving for someone out of state? Also you said I should get an lawyer, but you didn't really explain to me the benifits of having an lawyer with me in court? Also besides getting a lawyer is there anything else I can do to prevent myself from having a large penalty put against me?

Thank you for your response.

This law is NOT a local Bristol law, it is the VA state law. I already explained above how it actually works for someone out of state, if you are convicted on the reckless speeding over 80 VA will send a notice to MD about your license suspension and MD DMV will then under the constitutional full faith and credit clause of other state judgments would impose the VA suspension on your MD license. MD and VA cooperate under the interstate violators compact, so when MD receives notice of the suspension they will immediately suspend your license just as if a MD court had issued the suspension.

This is the VA Code:
46.2-862. Exceeding speed limit.

A person shall be guilty of reckless driving who drives a motor vehicle on the highways in the Commonwealth (i) at a speed of twenty miles per hour or more in excess of the applicable maximum speed limit or (ii) in excess of eighty miles per hour regardless of the applicable maximum speed limit.


In Bristol, the judges usually impose actual jail time at 90-100 MPH, not below (most of the smaller towns 85+ will impose jail, mainly because they have space and they can get more state money doing so, but Bristol is a larger city and they really do not have space for speeding violators).

Having an attorney is important because the attorney will do several things. First, they will review the records on the radar unit used by the officer to make sure that it has been tested and certified within 6 months pursuant to VA Code 46.2-882. Second, if the officer is certified on the radar and the radar was certified properly, the attorney will meet with the commonwealth attorney to discuss reducing the speed on the citation to make it speeding and not reckless. A commonwealth attorney is not going to generally discuss a case with a defendant directly because anything you tell him he can use against you in trial and they do not want to violate your 5th Amendment and 6th Amendment Rights. The CA may offer you some "deal" but generally the best deals are given to the attorneys who frequently work the courts and have a professional relationship with the CA. Finally, this is a state misdemeanor criminal offense, not a traffic violation, and you are entitled to an attorney to represent you because it involves potential jail time and you really need to protect your rights.

I hope this clarifies this for you, but if you have some more specific information you want, please use "reply to expert" and ask and I am happy to respond to you.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

So do you think they will suspend my license no matter what? Honestly I don't think I was going that fast. I had my car in cruise control at 75, when the cop pulled me over I had just went down a hill, so I don't think I could have been going any faster than 80-82 mph.

Thank you for your response.

I am afraid that VA has no choice in the suspension for a reckless conviction, it is a mandatory 6 month suspension, which is another reason this is a serious offense.

You also need to go get your cruise control tested by the dealer to make sure it is accurate and get a letter from the dealer stating they tested it and it is accurate, as this gives you/your attorney proof to present to the CA as part of the argument to reduce the speed as part of the negotiations. The fact you were on cruise control and going downhill would be factors that would be raised with the CA in seeking to negotiate the reduction to get this out of being reckless.
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