Essex County Virginia Reckless Driving Speeding Traffic Lawyer

 Essex, virginia reckless driving speeding traffic court attorney

Essex county is located on Virginia's Middle Peninsula, just outside of the Washington D.C to Norfolk urban crescent.  The county's main town is Tappahannock.  The speed limit in Essex is generally maxes out at about 60 miles per hour, and there are two major highways that run through Essex County, U.S. Route 360 and U.S. Route 17.  In addition to Tappahannock, Mattox Law represents clients who receive traffic infractions and crimes throughout Essex County including Wares Wharf, Hustle, Loretto, Blandfield, Dunnsville, Laneview, Center Cross, Champlain, Bowler's Wharf, Caret, Dunbrooke, Brays Fork, Center Cross, Passing, Butylo, Supply, and Miller's Tavern to name a few of the towns located in Essex, Virginia.

Defending Speeding Cases

Speeding charges in Virginia can vary significantly depending on the nature of the offense.  The most severe cases are often charged as reckless driving by speed, which elevates the offense from a simple traffic infraction to a class 1 misdemeanor.  Although speeding is an infraction rather than a misdemeanor, a conviction can still carry very serious consequences.  A speeding conviction can lead to license suspension, points on your driving record, high fines, and increased insurance rates.

Trey Mattox has represented hundreds of individuals charged with speeding offenses and has an outstanding record of having those charges reduced or dismissed.  Trey regularly saves Mattox Law clients hundreds of dollars in fines and insurance premiums as well as helping to preserve driving privileges.  Trey is intimately familiar with Virginia speeding laws and what is required of the officer ensuring that all possible legal strategies are pursued.

DUI Representation

A conviction for a DUI in Virginia carries very extreme consequences and can often lead to time in jail.  Similar to reckless driving, a first offense DUI is a class 1 misdemeanor which has a maximum 12 month license suspension, 12 months jail sentence, and $2,500 fine.  Additionally, there are mandatory minimum sentences which must be enforced by the judge upon conviction of an elevated DUI.  A DUI can become elevated due to the defendant's blood alcohol content and previous DUI convictions.  There are too many scenarios to list here, but I would invite you to contact me so that we can discuss your case and whether any of these factors would apply to your case.

Trey analyzes each case with extreme care in order to bring to light any possible defenses which can be used in trial.  This careful analysis can become important not only at trial but also during negotiations with the prosecutor.  There are often questionable situations in a DUI case which may not be significant enough to lead to a dismissal but can be used as leverage for a better plea agreement.  It is extremely important to contact an attorney who is willing to spend the time to go over every detail in order to get the best possible result for your case.

What is Reckless Driving?

There are several varieties of reckless driving in Virginia, but the most prevalent is Virginia Code § 46.2-862 Exceeding speed limit.  This statute defines reckless driving as:

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.

The speed limit on Route 360 and Route 17 through Essex County is 60 miles per hour.  Therefore, the majority of of the reckless driving charges I see in Essex are the variety at twenty miles per hour or more above the speed limit. 

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.

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 offenses 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.

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.

Testimonials

Words can not express my gratitude and deep appreciation, this whole ticket ordeal was stressful from the beginning and it was your firm to help set my mind at ease. I deeply grateful for the assistance and legal representation. If I do ever end up in Virginia again I will make sure to contact you first. - Vaughn

I am pleased to see the final results without points or criminal charges imposed upon me. Without your help, it would be extremely difficult for me to fight against. I want to Thank you all for your guidance, advises, professionalism.   -Hingwan

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 can result in a conviction.  When looking for an attorney, be careful to speak with someone who is knowledgeable of the judge's rules.  Below please find links describing some of the mitigation evidence I use to defend my clients.  Please give me a call or email for additional suggestions on mitigation evidence for your Essex traffic case.

  • 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.

  • 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.

Fortunately, the judge in Essex is typically good about working with individuals faced with traffic violations, 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 Essex and how the court handles its docket. 

Essex General District Court

It is also important to retain an attorney who has a very good working relationship with the Essex Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office.  The Commonwealth’s Attorney or prosecutor does not typically get involved in speeding or reckless driving charges; however, for more serious offenses such as Driving on a Suspended License, DUI, 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.

If you have been pulled over in Essex County 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

Essex General District Court

Clerk
Ms Dee Balderson Davis

Phone/Fax
Phone: (804) 443-3744
Fax: (804) 443-4122

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

Address
P. O. Box 66
300 Prince Street
Tappahannock, VA 22560

General District Judges

  • Hon. John S. Martin, Presiding Judge

  • Hon. John R. Stevens, Chief Judge

  • Hon. David B. Caddell Jr.

  • Hon. Hugh S. Campbell

  • Hon. Richard T. McGrath

  • Hon. Robert Eric Reibach

  • Hon. J. Bruce Strickland

 Essex Case Results

Related Links

Should I Take My Vehicle To Have The Speedometer Calibrated?Why Was I Convicted Of Improper Driving And What Does That Mean Now?Should I Tell The Officer Why I Was Speeding?; Should I Plan To Appear In Court?Does The Officer Need To Calibrate The Radar/Lidar?; How Will My Status In The Military Effect My Reckless Driving Or Speeding Traffic Case?Why Am I Charged With Reckless Driving If I Was Not Driving Recklessly?; Is The Officer Required To Show The Radar?Sussex, Virginia Speeding Lawyer;  How Much Will My Fine Be And How Do I Pay It?