Reckless Driving Lawyer Emporia VA

Have you been charged with reckless driving speeding in Emporia, Virginia?  Contact Emporia reckless driving lawyer Trey Mattox for a free consultation, phone (804) 451-6033 or email trey@mattoxlawpc.com.

Emporia Reckless Driving and Speeding Representation

Emporia is one of the most notorious “speed traps” in Virginia.  Emporia is located just north of the North Carolina border with Virginia.  There are two primary highways running through Emporia, Interstate 95 running north and south and U.S. Route 58 traveling east and west.  The majority of the traffic violations in Emporia occur along these two highways.

What is Reckless Driving Speeding in Virginia?

The most common form of reckless driving in Virginia is reckless driving speeding.  If you received a reckless driving speeding ticket in Virginia it was most likely written under this code section. The reckless driving VA code states:

Virginia Code 46.2-862:
A person shall be guilty of reckless driving who drives a motor vehicle on the highways in the Commonwealth (i) at a speed of twenty miles per hour or more in excess of the applicable maximum speed limit or (ii) in excess of eighty miles per hour regardless of the applicable maximum speed limit.

Among the reckless driving code sections, § 46.2-862 is by far the most frequently used.  This statute strictly refers to the speed at which you are driving without any regard to your manner of driving.  This statute defines reckless driving in two ways.  The first section of this statute mandates that you can be convicted of reckless driving for traveling 20 or more miles per hour above the speed limit.  The second section defines reckless driving as driving over 80 miles per hour no matter the posted speed limit.  This section becomes particularly troublesome on highways with 70 mile per hour speed limits.  Therefore, according to the statute going as little as 11 miles per hour over the speed limit can result in a conviction for reckless driving.  

The Reckless Driving Statutes

There are 14 different variations of reckless driving in Virginia.  The following is a list of the various reckless driving statutes:

·      § 46.2-852 Reckless driving; general rule

·      § 46.2-853 Driving vehicle which is not under control; faulty brakes.

·      § 46.2-854. Passing on or at the crest of a grade or on a curve.

·      § 46.2-855. Driving with driver's view obstructed or control impaired.

·      § 46.2-856. Passing two vehicles abreast.

·      § 46.2-857. Driving two abreast in a single lane.

·      § 46.2-858. Passing at a railroad grade crossing.

·      § 46.2-859. Passing a stopped school bus; prima facie evidence.

·      § 46.2-860. Failing to give proper signals.

·      § 46.2-861. Driving too fast for highway and traffic conditions.

·      § 46.2-862. Exceeding speed limit.

·      § 46.2-863. Failure to yield right-of-way.

·      § 46.2-864. Reckless driving on parking lots, etc.

·      § 46.2-865. Racing; penalty

Classification and Penalties

Virginia Code § 46.2-868 dictates that reckless driving is a class 1 misdemeanor and therefore carries extremely serious consequences.  In Virginia, a Class 1 misdemeanor is the most serious category of misdemeanors and falls just one step short of a felony. Specifically, as a Class 1 misdemeanor, reckless driving carries a maximum one year in jail, $2500 fine, and 6 month license suspension.  Additionally,  there are many secondary consequences such as increased insurance premiums, points on your driving record, license suspensions due to accumulation of points, and failed criminal background checks.

What is Reckless Driving; General Rule

If you have received a Virginia reckless driving ticket and the charge was unrelated to speed it likely will fall under reckless driving; general rule.  This statute allows a police officer to charge you with reckless driving if he believes you were driving in a manner that endangers life or property.  The reckless driving VA code states:

Virginia Code 46.2-852:
Irrespective of the maximum speeds permitted by law, any person who drives a vehicle on any highway recklessly or at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person shall be guilty of reckless driving.

Expected Outcomes

Each traffic case is unique and carries individual issues leading to a variety of results. The biggest factor affecting the outcome of a case of course is the original allegation. Certainly, we expect far different outcomes for DUI’s as compared to speeding offenses. However, there are many other factors involved with every traffic case. One of the most important factors the court will take into consideration is your demeanor. The judge will be far more lenient to an individual who is polite and cooperative with the officer as opposed to someone who was argumentative or otherwise uncooperative. Another major factor is the number of prior violations on your record. Most judges and prosecutors will not provide a favorable outcome without viewing your record first. A clean record will allow for much better outcomes than one with multiple violations. If this is your first reckless driving ticket in Virginia, the Court will certainly look more favorably at your case as compared to those with prior violations.

Driving School for Dismissal

Driving school is a very powerful tool in the defense of traffic infractions and crimes. In many cases I will advise my clients to complete driving school before the court date in order to achieve a better outcome. In other case, the judge may require the defendant to complete driving school in order to have the case completely dismissed. Under those circumstances it is up to the defendant to get the driving school completed by the deadline set by the court in order to have the case dismissed.

Defective Equipment

Defective equipment is a violation you may receive for having a tail light out or maybe a cracked windshield. This is a non-moving violation typically indicating that something may have been wrong with your vehicle as opposed to something being wrong with your driving. As a non-moving violation, defective equipment does not carry any points on a Virginia and most other driving records. Many judges in Virginia use defective equipment as a means to reduce a traffic violations that otherwise would carry points on your driving record.

Speeding Infraction

For some reckless driving cases, avoiding any points on your record with a non-moving violation or having the case dismissed may not always be possible. In those cases, our focus will often shift from avoiding the points to at least avoiding the class 1 misdemeanor conviction. Reckless driving of course is considered a class 1 misdemeanor so at the very least we need to ensure that you do not end up with a criminal conviction if found guilty of the reckless driving charge. Simple speeding is just a traffic infraction and therefore will avoid the misdemeanor conviction.

Testimonials

Thank you so much for all of your help with my case.  This morning, the entire charge was DISMISSED and I was found NOT GUILTY!  I can't tell you how much this means to me!  Mr. Mattox and you are a great team and I could not have done it without your help.  Thank you for being so kind and professional through the process! - Kerry

Once again, I absolutely cannot thank you enough for your assistance. I do want you to know that my behavior on the day I received that citation was not in any way related to the way I consistently drive. I have always been a conscientious vehicle operator and will continue to be. On the day of the citation, I had been harassed by two 18-wheelers for 30 miles or so, and I was attempting to get out of that situation.  Not a good reason for my speed, but their behavior just got the better of me that day. I wish you and Mr. Mattox a wonderful holiday season, and I am in your debt. - Ted

Mr. Mattox and his assistant Stephanie were amazing! I was very apprehensive moving forward because of the high speed of my speeding ticket; however, he told me everything I needed to do and the charge was completely dismissed! Amazing work. Mr. Mattox truly does go to bat for his clients and I could not have had a more positive experience. - Kerry

EMPORIA GENERAL DISTRICT COURT 

Fortunately, the judge in Emporia is typically good about working with individuals faced with traffic offenses, and I am frequently able to negotiate a reduction.  However, the judge is very particular with what he requires for a reduction.  It is extremely important to speak with an attorney who is familiar with Emporia and how the judge handles his docket.

It is also important to retain an attorney who has established a very good working relationship with the Emporia Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office.  The Commonwealth’s Attorney or prosecutor does not typically get involved in reckless driving or speeding charges; however, for more serious offense such as DUI, Driving on a Suspended License, or Possession of Marijuana, the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office plays a prominent role.  It is extremely important to choose an attorney who is very familiar with the Commonwealth’s Attorney prosecuting your case.

Defending Your Case

There are several tasks that I frequently have my clients complete prior to their scheduled court date in order to ensure the best possible outcome.  Alternatively, the judge will often have additional requirements before he is willing to reduce your charge.  The judge requires each of these items to be presented in the proper form.  Failure to follow every requirement often results in a conviction.  When looking for an attorney to represent you please be careful to speak with someone who is knowledgeable of the judges rules.  Below please find links to blog articles describing some of the mitigation evidence I use to defend my clients.  Please give me an email trey@mattoxlawpc.com or call (804) 451-6033 for additional suggestions on mitigation evidence for your Emporia traffic case.

  • Speedometer Calibration - Speedometer calibrations are often the single most important piece of evidence I present while defending reckless driving cases. It is extremely important to have your vehicle properly calibrated in order to ensure that it is admissible in court and can be as beneficial as possible to the outcome of your case. It is essential to select the right shop with the correct equipment. You will want to take your vehicle to a shop with a dynamometer or “dyno.” In essence a dynamometer is a device used to test the accuracy of your vehicles speedometer, among other functions. The technician will put your vehicle on the dynamometer and measure what your speedometer is reading as compared to the actual wheel speed of your vehicle in order to determine how accurate your speedometer is. A favorable calibration will demonstrate to the judge that your speedometer was reading lower than your actual speed.  This will help to show that you were unaware that you may have been traveling at that alleged speed.  Many of the judges that I appear before regularly give my clients credit for the calibration and will reduce a charge down further than he or she may have otherwise been willing to do. A true calibration will carry the greatest weight in court.  Many of my clients will take their vehicles to a shop without a dynamometer before they have spoken to me.  Frequently these shops will inform my clients that their speed sensor or speedometer cluster is malfunctioning and offer to replace them.  While this can be helpful to a reckless driving case it does not usually carry the same amount of weight as a true calibration.

  • Community Service - Community service can be a powerful piece of mitigation evidence used to help get the best possible result in court. In some cases a judge will order the defendant to complete community service as a requirement for a reduction of the charged offense. On other occasions, I will advise my clients to complete community service hours proactively in order to present the best case possible. Judges have differing standards when it comes to community services. Most if not all judges will be satisfied with your community service hours if completed according to the following guidelines. First, the community service must be completed for a non-profit organization. However, many judges adhere to strict prohibitions against doing community services for any school, church, or any other organization you are currently associated with. The second requirement for community services work deals with the reporting of the work.  Many of the judges that I appear before regularly are extremely picky about how the community service should be documented and presented to the court.  Ultimately, you will want to have the supervisor write a letter on a piece of the organization’s letterhead describing the dates and hours you worked, a description of the work, and the total number of hours worked.  Some judges even require this letter to be signed by the supervisor in front of a notary.

  • Driving School - Completion of a defensive driving course can be very valuable to the defense of a reckless driving charge. Often completing the course prior to your scheduled court date can be a useful tool to get the best possible outcome for your case. You must also be careful you choose the correct driving school for your individual case. Driving courses can range in length from six hours up to twelve hours. You must also be sure that driving school is the correct tool for your case. For high-speed cases I often get my clients to complete a 12-hour aggressive driving course.  The length and subject matter of these courses can show that a client is very concerned about their case and willing to do what it takes to avoid a conviction.  There are two primary sources I use for 12-hour courses.  The first is offered through the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASAP) and is called Reckless/Aggressive Driver Education Program (RADEP).  This is a two-day, in person aggressive driving school.  The other primary source is one of the many 12 hour courses offered online out of Florida.  The state of Florida uses 12-hour driving schools with great frequencies and has many online programs available. Judges can differ significantly when it comes to the value they will place on driving school. Some judges refuse to order defendants to take driving school, some will only use driving school for exceptional cases, and others rely solely on driving school as a means of reducing reckless driving charges. In Virginia, DMV will add five positive points to your driving record if you complete driving school voluntarily and submit the certificate of completion to the DMV.  When signing up to take a defensive driving course you should be given the option of court ordered and voluntary for points on your record.  It is important to take the court ordered course when completing it prior to your court date to ensure the judge gives you proper credit for completing it.

If you have been pulled over in Emporia please feel free to contact me at your earliest convenience.  I offer free consultations and am available by phone (804) 451-6033 or email trey@mattoxlawpc.com

EMPORIA GENERAL DISTRICT COURT

Clerk
Ms Sandra Andleton Ligon

Phone/Fax
Phone: (434) 634-5400
Fax: (434) 634-0049

Clerk's Office Hours
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Address
315 South Main Street
Emporia, VA 23847

General District Judges

  • Hon. Stephen D. Bloom, Chief Judge

  • Hon. C. Ridley Bain

  • Hon. Bruce A. Clark Jr.

EMPORIA CASE RESULTS

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