Do I really need a lawyer for a Reckless Driving charge? Unlike a speeding ticket, reckless driving is a criminal offense. Most reckless driving charges are based on speeding more than twenty miles per hour over the limit. While some people view this as no more serious than a routine speeding ticket, reckless driving by speed is taken very seriously in Virginia and judges can sentence people to jail time for it, and routinely do so if you were driving more than 90 miles per hour. However, there are ways for your attorney to persuade the Commonwealth to reduce the speed with which you are charged in order to mitigate the penalties. Our attorneys are experienced in handling traffic cases and will know how to best defend you.
Is DUI (Driving Under the Influence) the same as DWI (Driving While Intoxicated)? These terms are essentially used interchangeably in Virginia. Police will typically charge a person with driving while intoxicated if a person has been drinking alcohol, while they will call it driving under the influence if the person has been using drugs.
What should I know about DUI or DWI? If you plead guilty or are otherwise convicted of DUI or DWI, you will automatically have your license suspended for one year. If you have prior DUI convictions, or if you refused to take the breath test or blood alcohol test, your suspension period may be longer. This is a mandatory penalty and the judges have no discretion to reduce it. However, you may be able to obtain a restricted license so that you can get to school or work. An attorney can help you present your case in such a way as to maximize the likelihood that you will obtain a restricted license.
I was caught driving on a suspended license. Is there anything you can do to help me? There are strict requirements in the Virginia Code regarding the notice that is required to be given before you can be convicted of driving on a suspended license. If you did not have actual notice that your license was suspended, our attorneys may be able to help clear you of these charges. In addition, if the police did not have a valid reason to pull you over in the first place, you may be able to have any evidence of your driving on a suspended license suppressed. Call for a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys who can determine what defenses you might have.
How does the whole point system work? For being a good driver, you are awarded one positive point on your driving record for each year, up to a maximum of five points. If you voluntarily attend a DMV-approved driving school, you will receive five positive points. On the contrary, if you have a traffic violation, you are penalized with negative points, depending on the severity of the charge. If you accumulate 12 points in 12 months or 18 points in 24 months, DMV will require you to take a driver’s improvement course in order to avoid having your license suspended. If you accumulate 18 points in 12 months or 24 points in 24 months, DMV will automatically suspend your license for 90 days without the opportunity for a restricted license. You will then be placed on driving probation for six months and you will have to take a driving improvement course before getting your license restored.
Do I need a lawyer for a traffic infraction? Speeding tickets, running red lights, and other minor traffic infractions are generally punishable only by monetary fines, so the cost of hiring a lawyer may be more than the fine you are facing. On the other hand, while you may only face a small fine in the short-run by not contesting a traffic infraction, long-term you may be saddled with increased auto insurance premiums, monitoring by DMV, or civil fees imposed by DMV for excessive accumulation of infractions. Especially if you have a high number of points on your record, it may be important to dispute the charge, in which case, it can be well worth the price you pay to hire a lawyer. More serious traffic offenses, such as reckless driving, hit-and-run, and DUI, are traffic misdemeanors for which you could face jail time, and therefore, it is imperative that you hire a well-qualified attorney to protect your rights.