What Not to Say to an Officer Who Pulls You Over for Reckless Driving

If you are pulled over by the police, it is normal to be nervous—especially if you know (or assume) that you’ve been pulled over for reckless driving. Whether you were going 20 miles over the speed limit, passed more than one car abreast on a two-lane road, passed a stopped school bus with flashing red lights or violated any of the other Virginia reckless driving laws, be careful what you say.

Here are four things you should definitely not say:

I’m running late

It is not the officer’s fault that you overslept or got caught up in something that made you late, or, frankly, even that you got stuck in a traffic jam. Even if it is the truth, running late is not a valid excuse for speeding, tailgating or nearly running a pedestrian off the road.

I didn’t see a posted speed limit

It’s true that not all roads have a posted speed limit, but you should know that Virginia’s General Assembly establishes statewide maximum statutory speed limits. On most residential streets and business thoroughfares, the speed limit is 25 miles per hour unless otherwise posted. For most secondary roads (defined as main arteries, usually in the U.S. Highway, State Highway, and/or County Highway system) numbered 600 and above, the speed limit is 45 miles per hour for trucks and 55 miles per hour for other vehicles. There is a maximum speed limit of 35 miles per hour on unpaved roads.

If the speed limit is posted, the officer knows it. In any case, ignorance of the law is no excuse, so don’t use it as one.

I was going with the flow of traffic

If everyone was going 100 miles per hour in a 55 mile per hour zone, it doesn’t matter. You were still speeding and the officer has you for both exceeding 80 miles per hour and going more than 20 miles per hour over the speed limit. If you were the only one who was stopped, then it wasn’t your lucky day.

I’m unfamiliar with the car I’m driving

Most cars on the road are similar: from the driver’s viewpoint, the brake pedal is on the left and the gas pedal in on the right. If the car has a manual transmission (stick shift), the clutch is to the left of the brake pedal. Simple. If you’re driving a car you’ve never driven before, it probably pays to familiarize yourself with the layout of the dashboard before you take it on the road. In any case, lack of familiarity is probably an excuse that neither the police officer nor the judge is going to buy.

What you should do if stopped for reckless driving

When engaging with the officer who stopped you for reckless driving:

  • Be polite
  • Stay calm
  • Do not get out of your vehicle
  • Produce your license, registration and insurance when requested by the officer.
  • Do not get into an argument
  • Never admit guilt

If you’ve been ticketed for reckless driving, it’s in your best interest to contact an attorney

A reckless driving conviction can cost you in many ways: loss of driving privileges, fines of up to $2,500 and the potential for jail time, as well as increased insurance fees. Moreover, the conviction stays on your record for up to 11 years. At the NoVa Law Firm, we help drivers who have been charged with reckless driving protect their rights. For more information or to schedule a consultation, please call us at (703) 352-9347 to speak with our best reckless driving defense lawyer or contact us online.

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.