What To Do After You’ve Been Charged With Reckless Driving Resulting In An Accident

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Reckless driving is a serious offense here in Virginia.

According to Virginia Code §46.2-852, if you drive an automobile on a highway recklessly or at a speed or in a manner in that endangers the life, limb, or property of another person, you are guilty of reckless driving. Reckless driving is actually a criminal offense! Can you pay the ticket and move on? Unfortunately, no…

Such a criminal charge requires you to go to court and appear in front of a judge. In some cases, however, and with the court’s permission, of course, your attorney can go to court in your place. So, why should you go to court? Simple…

Reckless driving is labeled as a Class I Misdemeanor and it carries severe, and often surprising, consequences. Being convicted of reckless driving can cause your insurance rates to dramatically increase, it may cause difficulties with your job or future employment, and it may even land you in jail! If you don’t go to court, you are leaving an awful lot to chance. Don’t take that risk.

Given these harsh penalties, if you have been charged with reckless driving, it is imperative that you hire an experienced criminal defense attorney. The reckless driving lawyers at The NoVa Law Firm are here for you.

Charged with Reckless Driving that Resulted in an Accident

All too often, if you cause an accident here in Virginia, police will charge you with reckless driving even if they never witnessed the crash. But, you should know, the accident alone is not sufficient, in a court of law, to show that you were in fact driving recklessly. Why?

This is because Virginia Code § 46.2-852 requires the prosecutor to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that (1) you were driving the at-fault vehicle; (2) you were driving in a way that endangered the life, limb or property of someone nearby; and (3) you ended up losing control of your vehicle and causing an accident. Most accidents involve two drivers and no third-party witnesses. It’s simply your version against the other guy’s version.

Prosecutors bear the burden of proving these elements beyond a reasonable doubt. They do this by presenting evidence that favors their case. This may include the other driver’s statements but if you made any admissions at the scene, your own words can be used to convict you. Thus, after the accident, you must make NO STATEMENTS regarding what happened. You are under no requirement to tell any officer ANYTHING about what caused the crash. In fact, you should simply state that you would prefer not to discuss anything until after speaking to an attorney. You may still get charged but when you call an attorney, he or she should act fast and gather evidence that will favor your defense. Your priority, of course, should be to tend to yourself. Get medical attention if you are injured, and/or do your best to assist others who may have been hurt. Then, pull out the most powerful weapon anyone can possess in these situations –your smartphone!

Does your phone have a recording feature? Use it. Turn it on and get the names and contact information of witnesses. Ask them what they saw. And, by the way, you are under NO legal requirement in Virginia to inform them you are recording them or obtaining their permission first.

Also, use the camera feature and take several photos of the scene, the road conditions, the damages, et cetera. You may even want to record careful notes of the weather condition, road conditions as well as any apparent hazards, such as heavy traffic or road construction.

Remember, the prosecution must prove each of the aforementioned elements beyond a reasonable doubt. So, if any evidence that you, or your attorney, gather differs from the prosecutor’s argument, this may destroy their case and set you free. Your goal, and the goal of your attorney, is to shed doubt on the prosecutor’s argument that you were driving recklessly.

Take Action – Hire an Attorney

If you have been charged with reckless driving, it is imperative that you hire an attorney for your case. The reckless driving lawyers at The NoVa Law Firm are here for you! Our attorneys are committed to protecting your rights under the law, and we will go the extra mile to pursue the best possible resolution in your case. Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your rights and legal options against Reckless Driving charges under Virginia law. Call now at (703) 352-9347. Serving Fairfax, Alexandria, and Arlington, Virginia along with surrounding cities.

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About the Author: Eric Clingan

About the Author: Eric Clingan

Eric Clingan is an experienced Criminal Defense attorney and the founder of the NoVA Law firm. He focuses his practice on defending residents of Northern Virginia charged with DUIs, reckless driving, drug charges, and other criminal accusations

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