Reckless Driving By Speeding in Virginia…
WTDW Podcast | Episode 26: What To Do When… You Are Charged with Reckless Driving by Speeding.
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WTDW Podcast | Episode 26: What To Do When… You Are Charged with Reckless Driving by Speeding.
Welcome to What To Do When….A podcast from real lawyers with real perspective, where we explore a variety of legal issues and scenarios. Each week we focus on a new topic and discuss What to do When, and if any of these legal scenarios ever happened to you or a loved one. With over 40 years of combined legal experience, our hosts offer their unique perspectives and insights on a range of real life legal situations.
Jackie Critzer 0:28
Hi, and welcome back to another podcast at Critzer Cardani. Here in Richmond, Virginia. I’m Jackie.
Scott Cardani 0:37
And I’m Scott, Jackie, what’s on the docket for today?
Jackie Critzer 0:39
Oh, today, it’s What To Do When… You Are Charged with Reckless Driving by Speed. So it’s a little bit of a follow up to a Reckless Driving podcast. This is more specific to reckless driving by speed.
Scott Cardani 0:53
And the reason we want to do this because a lot of people don’t really understand this because for a long time, the rule was 20 over is reckless driving period. And you know, with speed limits going up and things it’s not so easy. So obviously, what is reckless driving by speed? It’s when your speed is 20 miles over the speed limit, except for what?
Jackie Critzer 1:18
Except for when it’s in excess? Is it? Is it 85, or?
Scott Cardani 1:22
85. Over 85… in excess of that. You said it right, in excess of 85. So the reason that’s important is because as you know, in Virginia, we have 95 and 64, which in certain places have 70 miles an hour. So people think they can go 20 over and still be outside… or 19 over, and still, you know be 20 under and it’s not reckless. But the caveat in Virginia law is if you’re over 85, you’re reckless. So really, when you’re in a 70 mile per hour zone, you only get 15, not 19. So it happens to a lot of people they don’t understand. So I thought it was 20 over. So we wanted to take a moment and explain to you that reckless driving by speed is 20 over, or 85 is your max regardless. So when you’re doing 90 or 89, and you think you’re okay, definitely not definitely not. And you know, where people really, I see a lot of these is in the smaller communities where somebody’s in a 45, one to 65 or 66 or 70. Like down Broad Street, for instance, in Goochland, or places like that, or Chippenham Parkway where people fly. So it’s really easy to get the flow. And we just wanted you to know that because we didn’t want you to be ignorant without knowledge of what’s going on. And so once you know that you have to kind of say, Okay, what happens if I get a reckless? What is a reckless?
Jackie Critzer 2:53
Isn’t it just speeding? It sounds like it’s just speeding.
Scott Cardani 2:56
We wish it were, it’s not just speeding. It’s, it’s a misdemeanor in Virginia, that’s a big deal. Like a DUI is a misdemeanor, like stealing is a misdemeanor, like assault and battery is a misdemeanor. So you’re, you’re literally under the same classification and that classification is a misdemeanor is up to 12 months in jail, up to a $2,500 Fine. Will you get 12 months in jail and $2,500 fine for reckless? Probably not on your first one, not in your first one. And I’ve never really seen that steep of a penalty. I also remember in a misdemeanor in Virginia, you’re going to do literally half the sentence. So if the judge did say you got 12 months, you would do six months, and if it gives you 30 days, you’re gonna be 15 days. So…
Jackie Critzer 3:41
Well jail sounds really scary when you’re talking about just going faster than the speed limit. Are there times you said you don’t usually see people get 12 months in jail, but are their speeds at which you see people getting active jail time?
Scott Cardani 3:55
Yeah, when you start to get above 90, I would say between 90 and 100. And almost every jurisdiction you’re going to get looked at for whether you should go to jail or not. Once you pass, once you pass 100, you’re probably going to jail. It’s probably a matter of a matter of how much time you’re going to get. And it really is an interesting thing. And like I said for some judges, some jurisdictions, if you’re over 95, they’re looking at jail time in a day they start off with a day or two and then they kind of incrementally going up. So…
Jackie Critzer 4:27
So just depends really on where you are just because you maybe you’re going 93 in Hanover County, and then you get busted for 93 in Goochland County. Let’s just assume that it wasn’t in a 25. Right? You’re not running down a residential street and 90 miles an hour, nine miles an hour, but let’s just say it’s only interesting whichever interstate goes to these two counties. These two different judges may view 93 miles an hour differently and therefore you may have a different consequence because they can do the $2,500 and the 12 months.
Scott Cardani 5:00
They really can and that’s always on the table. And this is why we want you to know first what it is secondly, that there is a real penalty for this. And, you know, the other thing is your point rate for, you know, as you get demerit points is the DMV calls for this, this is one of your highest demerit points and six demerit points, which is a problem for insurance, it can jack your insurance up. So when you get a reckless driving, you get a misdemeanor if you get convicted, number one, so that puts your maybe employment at risk, especially if you’re one of those places that, you know, your security clearance or something like that, or they really watch that or you’re driving for your company, and they see you get that stuff, they can get concerned about that. Then you have your points with DMV, and if you get too many of those, they’ll suspended your license administratively. And then third, your insurance can get really jacked up with reckless driving conviction. So that’s our point. That’s why we want to talk to you about but you know, that’s why it’s really important to hire a lawyer when you get a reckless driving. Do not pay this ticket online, or go to court say, Yeah, I did it judge. And again, we’re going to emphasize the same thing. If you get pulled over for reckless driving, you don’t go Yes, sir. Officer, I was going 102 miles an hour. You do not have any obligation. Remember this, folks? I know. It’s hard, because we were taught to tell the truth. And it’s not about telling the truth. You do not want to lie. You don’t tell him you were going 50. Right. But you say with all due respect, Your Honor, or your officer? I’m not going to answer that question. Because the first question is going to ask you Do you know how fast you’re going?
Jackie Critzer 6:31
And sometimes, you when you say, I’m not really sure how fast I was going? That’s not even really helpful for you. It’s, it’s just not you walk into court, and that officers going to say the judge is going to ask him or her. What did they say to you? They said they didn’t know how fast they were going. You weren’t paying it, you were going 102 miles an hour, you weren’t paying close enough attention to know that you were going even 100 on 95. You so you just want to be careful how you answer the questions.
Scott Cardani 6:59
Yeah. And the best thing is, with all due respect, I’m going to get an attorney and help you get some help in this. And, you know…
Jackie Critzer 7:06
They’ll say that to the court, they’ll say, because the judge is going to still say what did this person say when you pull them over? They said they wanted to talk to an attorney, they wouldn’t answer my questions. That’s your right, that is your right to do.
Scott Cardani 7:16
And you’re still polite and cooperative, which is the key phrase, and every traffic ticket I’ve ever had was the what was the person polite and cooperative? Because the judges don’t want you giving them harassment, or given any funky attitude. But saying with respectful attitude. Thank you, sir. But with all due respect, I’m gonna contact a lawyer and I don’t feel like I can answer that question right now. They understand that they’re nice, guys, most of them they’re not, you know…
Jackie Critzer 7:38
And if they’re not, you need to be..
Scott Cardani 7:40
You need to beyou’d be nice, and you’d be on your P’s and Q’s. And as we always say, in these interactions with police officers, your job is you have the right not to incriminate yourself, and you shouldn’t incriminate yourself. So don’t incriminate yourself. And sometimes that causes that moment to be much worse feeling than it should because you really want to go, I’m so sorry. And don’t hurt me. And you’re gonna let me off and they don’t usually let you off. So then you just admitted to doing it. And then you come in our office and say, Well, I admitted to doing 102, and I want you to get me out of it. Not that that’s impossible, because sometimes still, there might be some wiggle room there. But…
Jackie Critzer 8:18
Well, there are some technical defenses that that we can present to the court that we can talk to you about when you call us to represent you in a reckless driving that, that if you make a statement like Yeah, I know I was going 102. It is a little more difficult to raise some of those technical defenses, because you at least assumed you were going that fast or told the police officer you thought you were.
Scott Cardani 8:42
Exactly, you know, sometimes your car is off, and you know, your calibration can be off. It’s not as much anymore, but it still happens.
Jackie Critzer 8:49
And sometimes that happens with odd sized tires.
Scott Cardani 8:53
Especially when I see it a lot when young kids get the big tires on their trucks and things like that, or that really can throw off your calibration your car, sometimes what they call smashing your car down can create calibration issues. So there’s there’s things that can be done. So your car could be reading 82 miles an hour, and you might be going 92. And that calibration most judges go well, it’s not. It’s your fault, but it’s not your fault in the sense of they’ll give you a break on that and say, I’ll take your calibration, right, if you thought you were doing 82 And you were really doing 92 That’s, you know, that’s a huge difference. It’s a huge difference. And so you’re always looking to mitigate this charge. And you know, there’s Lidar and radar and they have to tune those instruments, and they have to keep a calibration and they have to keep it updated and logged and when they you know their certificate can be out of date. There’s all kinds of things that can happen that we need to look at. But the biggest thing for us is for you to do your job, which we can’t help you with this. When your code over, say as little as possible. You have to give driver’s license you have to give your registration. And if they ask for proof of insurance, you have to do their best to provide that but that’s it. Those are the The three questions that you’re required to under your permission to drive because remember, driving in Virginia is a privilege, not a right, which a lot of people argue. And I agree with that argument. I’m just saying that’s somehow how they look at it, how the court looks at it. So your driving is a privilege. And the judges are gonna say, Well, you know, and one of the things we didn’t bring up in the penalty is they can take your license, obviously, for a period of time and suspend your license. So these are very, very serious charges. And that’s why when you get pulled over first, you need to know the law. So our takeaway, let me do that, or takeaways are this know the law if you are gonna have to…
Jackie Critzer 10:38
Backup? Because there’s a couple more things I think we should touch on?
Scott Cardani 10:41
Jackie Critzer 10:44
Are there circumstances Scott that make a reckless driving worse? In other words, say what if there are children in the car? Does that make it worse?
Scott Cardani 11:00
Absolutely. So for instance, if you’re driving recklessly, you’re at six miles an hour, or you’re, you know, you’re 20 over the speed limit, then you’ve usually if you have children, that car, they consider it you put your children at risk. And so they can give you charges against your children for, you know, all kinds of things. But that becomes a big issue is your children in the car. And also, judges just look at it much worse, when you have a child in the car, they’re like, really, you are driving 100 with your child in the car, they’re not even looking at because those hit those initial charges are usually handled in the juvenile court, they wouldn’t be handled with the judge in traffic court. But he still sees it. And he’s like, No, attitude is a big one. You know, your attitude, your history, if you have 10, reckless driving, so the likelihood of you getting out of reckless driving, pretty slim, pretty slim. And I see a lot of kids nowadays who have the like, do the little racing and things like that on the road. And that’s causing all kinds of problem. And I’m seeing judges more and more and more tightening down, where I used to be able to do a lot more with some charges, these racing thing. And if the judge gets the inkling that it was some kind of racing, even if it wasn’t proven, it really can hurt your case, because people were getting hurt. That’s the real issue. So the judges are trying to police that more, especially in Henrico County have noticed a big crackdown on that kind of behavior, and which, again, isn’t wrong when you’re going down Broad Street at 65 miles an hour. And with all the traffic and people running across the road and all the things like that, you know, a homicide of vehicular homicide where somebody hits somebody and kills them is is not out of the question.
Jackie Critzer 12:41
Sure. Well, in when I was doing a lot of reckless driving, it’s been a few years and know that Scott here does them and will also here in our office handles a lot of reckless driving for us as well. But back when I was doing them, there were sometimes clues on the summons or your ticket about what you could expect the first time you went to court. So sometimes the the time that you had to be in court was earlier, if they were looking for active jail time, is that still what your experience?
Scott Cardani 13:10
Not really anymore? I think post COVID dockets have just changed so dramatically that I don’t know that that’s really an issue. But um, really the issue is me polite and cooperative. The officer even if you’re in a bad mood and mad about being stopped, take a deep breath before he walks up to the car, you know, and just be playing cooperative. Yes, sir. No, sir. And make eye contact that’s always important. So those little things as long as the officer saying your plate, and Robert, if he’s done his job, he said, He’s speeding. And if I don’t have a technical Defense on that, but then he says you’re quite uncooperative the judge may or may not be willing at that point to give you like, say you’re at 87 miles an hour, he might drop you down enough to get you out of reckless? Sure. Excuse me. So that’s a big deal. So sometimes just being polite, well, even if you say I’m not willing to talk, they still consider that polite and cooperative.
Jackie Critzer 14:01
Well, and importantly, the penalties for reckless driving are different if you have a commercial driver’s license, which we’re not talking about that today. We have another podcast coming out very soon, that will deal with commercial driver’s licenses, CDLs and the penalties for the various traffic infractions. But so we’re not talking to you truck drivers just yet. But that’s coming that’s coming. So be Be on the lookout for that podcast coming up. Scott, what are our three takeaways today?
Scott Cardani 14:29
I think number one is just to know, I think the biggest one is to know that 85 miles an hour regardless, you’re in reckless territory, number one. Number two, just remembering that it’s 20 miles over or 85. And then two, is understanding that this is a serious penalty and misdemeanor, the points on your license, the potential getting your license, restricted or revoked, you know for a period of time these things are Big Deal, there’s a big fine can be a really big fine. This can be a financial nightmare with your insurance company jacking your rates and everything. So it’s really important to understand that there is a serious penalty this this is not just speeding, you know, and so that’s number two. And then finally, I think, is you really want to hire a lawyer if you got a ‘reckless’. So we can look at your case and try to find some of these loopholes and some of these things that may help you drop out of reckless and get to a speeding. Or maybe we get the whole case dismissed, which has happened before. I mean, it’s not like uncommon but you know, the number one goal when you have a reckless is get you out recklessly, get your points down. You’re not a misdemeanor, get out of possibility of suspension, all those things, but we work. You know, that goal first is to get you out of right, because we’ll get you all the way out of the ticket completely. That’s awesome. But that’s what we’re here to do. We’re here to help and in a reckless you need an attorney.
Jackie Critzer 15:51
That’s a wrap for today.
Scott Cardani 15:53
Jackie Critzer 15:53
Thank you today.
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