By Nichols & Green PLLC

Febuary 26, 2015

There are basically two types of strategies that we use to defend a reckless driving ticket. We attack the facts of the case or we try to get the prosecutor or judge to reduce the charge to a less serious offense.

How do you attack the facts of reckless by speed case?

Attacking how a police officer measured your speed is a very complex area of law and it is not something that lawyers or non-lawyers can do well without a lot of experience. I don’t think I have ever seen a driver successfully attack how an officer measured their speed without an experienced attorney. When I was first learning how to do this, I had a lot of failures before I got good at it. However, here are some examples of how we defeat reckless driving charges.

The most common way we attack the evidence is by attacking the calibration certificates. Each of the three common speed measuring techniques requires a piece of equipment that tells the officer your speed. Whether it is a radar device, a laser, or a speedometer, the officer is depending on a machine to prove your guilt.

The police are not allowed to use a machine’s read-out as evidence unless they can first prove that the machine was working correctly and was accurate. To prove that a machine is accurate the police calibrate their devices regularly. Virginia law says that if police officer does not do the calibration themselves, they need a calibration certificate written by the person who did do the calibration. There are very specific laws that govern calibration certificates.

If the police do not follow these laws, the calibration certificate is not admissible and the officer might not be able to establish the accuracy of their device and the officer is no longer allowed to testify to the machine’s reading. Without the device’s read-out, we usually win the reckless driving case.

The second most common way we attack a reckless driving by speed case is that we attack how the officer used the machine. Speed enforcement is not easy. It requires about 18 hours of training and a lot of experience to do speed enforcement. Attacking an officer’s speed enforcement techniques requires two things: First, you need to know more about speed enforcement than the officer does. Second, you need to know how to prove the officer did his job wrong.

In some cases, the only way you can prove an officer did his/her job wrong, is to hire an expert witness to testify in your case, but this is expensive. Usually about $1,00-$3,000. The cheaper way to attacks an officer’s methods is to use the officer’s own words against him. However, this technique requires a lot of trial experience and skill.

The third technique for attacking a reckless by speed case is to use evidence of innocence. This means presenting evidence that tends to show that the defendant is innocent. Witnesses’ testimony, vehicle black box records, and police dash-cam video are all examples of some of the evidence that might exist. This is also the least common method for defending reckless driving cases so most attorney do not have a lot of experience using this type of evidence in a reckless driving case.

How do you get a reckless driving charge reduced?

There are many ways to convince a judge or prosecutor to reduce a reckless driving charge. Some of the more common techniques include: Having a good DMV record, taking a Driving Improvement Course, or getting your car’s speedometer calibrated.

However, there are many more ways to increase your chances of a reduction. Community service, the ASAP aggressive driving classes, apology letters to the Court, or talking to the judge about why you are a good person or why a reckless driving conviction would cause you serious harm.

Throwing yourself at the mercy of the court can be an extremely effective technique or it can be an utter disaster. You have to understand the judge and prosecutors really well and you have to remember that each case is unique. A very small difference between cases can lead to big differences in the outcome.

Before taking a driver improvement class or doing any of these items, call us for a free consultation. At the end of each consultation, we will provide you will a list of ways you can prepare for your case that is specially tailored to your situation to make sure you know the right way to prepare for your reckless driving case.

How serious is my case?

Reckless driving is a criminal offense, if you are convicted it will stay on your criminal record forever. Reckless driving also comes with up to 12 months in jail, a 6-month loss of license, and a max fine of $2,500. [Click here to learn more about the penalties for reckless driving].

Luke J. Nichols explains how to defend reckless driving tickets in Virginia.

However, just because those are the maximum punishments does not mean that they will happen to you. There is a lot of variety in the outcome of reckless driving cases. Some drivers only get a criminal conviction and a small fine, other drivers go to jail and lose their license for a long time.

If you call us, we will be happy to do a free consultation and after asking a few questions I can give you a very accurate estimate of what you are facing, what we can do about it, and what the likely outcome will be. We do hundreds of these cases in Northern Virginia, so giving you a good prediction is quick and easy and we can do it over the phone or in person.

I hope this information was helpful to you. And more than anything else, I hope that you realize that there are many ways to defend a driver against reckless driving and if you would like to talk specifically about your case, you can call any time for a free consultation(703) 383-9222.