Essex County VA Reckless Driving Traffic Lawyer

Essex, Virginia Reckless Driving Speeding Representation

Have you received a speeding or reckless driving traffic ticket in Essex, Virginia?  Contact Essex reckless driving traffic ticket attorney Trey Mattox for a free no cost consultation, phone (804) 451-6033 or email

Essex, Virginia Reckless Driving 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.  Therefore, most of the reckless driving charges I see are for going 20 or more above the speed limit.  However, the speed limits drop as you go through the various towns throughout Essex.  It is very easy to miss one of those change in speed signs and find yourself going much farther over the speed limit than intended.  Some of these towns include Brays Fork, Butylo, Dunnsville, Wares, Supply, Bowler's Wharf, Millers Tavern, Tappannock, Loretto, Wares Wharf, Laneview, Caret, Champlain, Hustle, Center Cross, Dunbrooke, Blandfield, and Passing.

Essex County VA traffic lawyer Trey Mattox has extensive experience representing individuals charged with a wide variety of traffic violations including reckless driving, speeding, and DUI charges among others. He has successfully defended these cases providing results that in nearly every instance avoid a conviction for the traffic misdemeanor or infraction alleged. If you have been charged with a traffic crime or infraction in Essex County VA, contact knowledgeable and accomplished Essex County traffic lawyer Trey Mattox.

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 Virginia code section defines reckless driving in two ways.  The first reckless driving definition 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

Reckless driving in the Virginia Code has 14 sections containing different variations or definitions of reckless driving in Virginia.  The following statutes are the list of the various reckless driving laws in Virginia:

·      § 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 points on your driving record, license suspensions due to accumulation of points, increased insurance premiums, 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 potential results. The biggest factor affecting the outcome of a case of course is the original traffic ticket received or allegation. Certainly, we expect far different outcomes for DUI charges as compared to speeding tickets. However, there are many other factors that can affect potential results involved with every traffic case. One of the most important factors the court will take into consideration is your demeanor when interacting with the police officer. 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 and points on your driving record. Most judges and commonwealth attorney’s will not willing to agree to a favorable outcome without viewing your driving record first. A clean driving record will allow for much better results than one with multiple prior speeding tickets or other traffic infractions, misdemeanors, or felonies.

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 you to complete driving school in order to have the case completely dismissed. Under those circumstances it is up to the you to get the driving school completed by the deadline set by the court in order to have the case dismissed. In many cases judges will issue driving school after your first ticket and are less willing to allow for driving school after subsequent tickets. Of course courts and judges differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and some are more lenient in this regard. In most cases the court will allow you to complete driving school online or in person as long as the hour requirement is met. To be in compliance with the courts order you must ensure that the original certificate of completion for the defensive driving program is submitted to the court by the deadline set by the judge. In addition to the certificate you will be required to pay court costs which will vary depending on the court and violation.

Driving School for Reduction

In some cases the speed may be to high or there may be too many violations on your record for the court to be willing to completely dismiss the case. In those situations, the court may still require driving school for the case to simply be reduced as opposed to being dismissed. There are a couple different routes the court may go in regard to the reduction. The most common and likely scenario would be a reduction to a simple speeding violation. Another common outcome would be the reduction to improper driving. In other circumstances the court may be willing to reduce the original violation to some sort of non-moving violation such as defective equipment, defective speedometer, or failure to obey a highway sign while sleeping. There are also situations where the court will leave the speed thew same but amend the code section to simple speeding. Under that scenario the misdemeanor would be dropped, but you would still likely get the same amount of points on your record as if convicted of the originally charged offense. Finally, there are some instances where the court is unwilling to reduce the violation but will waive an active jail sentence and/or license suspension upon the completion of a defensive driving course.

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. Typically this is used as a reward for those folks with good driving records that would justify such a reduction in the judges eye. Defective equipment is also reserved for those folks charged with less egregious violations. While this outcome allows the judge to reward someone with a good record by keeping points off, it also allows the judge to still issue a fine. A reduction to defective equipment is often a bit of a quid pro quo allowing judges to reduce moving violations to keep points off of a driving record while still allowing him to collect a fine. In many cases the Judge will keep the fine at the standard fine based on the originally charged speed. In other cases, the judge may enhance the fine for having a few priors on your record or possibly demeanor issue with the officer.

Speeding Infraction

For some reckless driving and speeding 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 reducing the number of points going on your driving record and 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 are not convicted of reckless driving to ensure you do not end up with a criminal record. Simple speeding is just a traffic infraction and therefore will avoid the misdemeanor conviction. Additionally, most states DMV point systems are based on speed and the number of miles per hour the allegation is over the speed limit. By convincing the court to reduce the speed we should at least be able to reduce the number of points going on your record. This reduction in points can then have several secondary consequences as well. In some states a conviction over a certainly threshold, such as 15 miles per hour over the speed limit, can lead to an automatic license suspension. By reducing the speed below that limit we can ensure that your license is not administratively suspended by your states DMV. A reduction in speed will also help to ensure that your insurance rates are not effected. Most insurance companies will use the miles per hour over the speed limit as part of their analysis to determine whether your insurance rates should be increased. Therefore, the lower the speed can be reduced to the less likely that your insurance rates will be affected.

Improper Driving

Improper driving is a frequently used reduction specific to reckless driving cases. I find improper driving is most frequently used in accident related cases; however, it is certainly used by many judges in reckless driving by speed cases. Many judges and commonwealth’s attorneys use improper driving as means to reduce reckless driving by speed cases because it allows them to issue an elevated fine of $500.00 as opposed to the maximum fine for a simple speeding conviction of $250.00. However, on the positive side, improper driving only stays on a Virginia driving record for 3 years as opposed to 5 years for a speeding violation and 11 years for a reckless driving conviction. An improper driving reduction will accomplish the primary goals of reckless driving representation of avoiding the class 1 misdemeanor and reducing the number of points that would appear on your record. Improper driving, similar to a simple speeding violation, is just a traffic infraction and thus will not appear on your criminal record. Additionally, on a Virginia driving record, improper driving will cut the points in half from a 6 point violation for reckless driving down to a 3 point violation. This in turn will frequently keep your insurance from being affected, depending on what priors appear on your driving record.


Unfortunately, there are certain cases that, despite our best efforts, result in a conviction of the originally charged infraction or class 1 misdemeanor for reckless driving offenses. Of course in most cases our number one goal is simply avoiding a conviction for that alleged offense. In some cases it is improbable or nearly impossible to get the charge reduced. These cases can be difficult to reduce for a number of different reasons including the nature of the alleged offense, the underlying facts, and what your prior record looks like. In these situations we are hoping instead to convince the court to reduce the consequences of a conviction including the fine, license suspension, and jail sentence.


Most traffic cases that are not dismissed typically result in a fine being issued in addition to standard court cost. In most instances the fine is directly related to the severity of the originally charged offense. There are statutory set fines for all reckless driving and speeding violations. For reckless driving the fines are set based on the alleged speed. The standard fine for speeding cases is $6.00 for every mile per hour over the speed limit. In both instances, the faster you go the higher the fine we would expect to see. Additionally, many judges will use a fine as an additional punishment, especially where the facts are particularly egregious. Similarly, some judges will enhance the fine if there are demeanor issues where the judge finds that you were not being polite and cooperative with the officer on the side of the road. However, there are some situations where we may be able to convince the judge to reduce the fine from the standard such as for students and military personnel.

License Suspension

In the unfortunate case where you are ultimately convicted of the underlying offense there is the possibility the court will issue a license suspension. When facing a case where a license suspension is possibly one of our key goals then become reducing or hopefully eliminating the potential for a license suspension. In some cases it is not possibly to avoid the license suspension despite our best efforts. In those cases we will typically request the court to order a restricted license that will at least allow you to drive to work and necessary appointments. Once the suspension time has elapsed you will then be required to contact the Virginia DMV in order to have your license or privilege to drive in Virginia reinstated.


In many situations the worst case scenario would result in an active jail sentence being ordered by the court. A jail sentence may only be imposed when you have been convicted of a misdemeanor; therefore, the conviction for simple speeding or improper driving will certainly ensure that no jail sentence will be imposed. However, if you are convicted of reckless driving or DUI among other traffic misdemeanors, the court does have authority to order an active jail sentence. This result is typically only reserved for the more egregious cases involving high speeds, unsettling facts, or high blood alcohol content among other factors. When these more serious facts are in play, avoid or reducing the jail sentence becomes are number one gaol. In some cases we can convince the court to impose a suspended jail sentence as opposed to an active one. When the Court suspends a jail sentence, you will not be required to serve the time in jail assuming you do not get into any additional legal trouble throughout the time period for which the court has suspended the sentence.


I want to thank you for everything that you've done for my case, your patience, your professionalism, and your representation on the court. Really appreciate your help! If given any chance, I will definitely recommend you to people who also need help on their case. Hope you have a great rest of your day. Yao-Hsuan

Thank you as an office for your efficiancy in making prompt personal and  professional contact with your clients and future clients. This sets you apart from other services I have contacted. If you need anything else from me to help insure the most favorable outcome of this case I would be happy to oblige. - Shara

Thank you, and your company very much for representing me. It was a please working with you. You made this process very easy for me and I couldn't express how grateful I am. Again thank you very much. Hopefully ill never have to do this again but if I do you will be the first I call. Thank you again take care!  - Brandi

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 in Essex will often have additional requirements before he is willing to reduce your charge.   This 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 (804) 451-6033 or email for additional suggestions on mitigation evidence for your Essex traffic case.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

In addition to reckless driving, Mattox Law, P.C. also handles cases involving possession of marijuana, underage possession of alcohol, DUI, driving on a suspended license, and speeding.  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

Essex General District Court

Ms Dee Balderson Davis

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

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

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

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I Take An 8-Hour or 12-Hour Defensive Driving Course?Why Was I Convicted Of Improper Driving And What Does That Mean Now?Representation of Commercial DriversSussex, Virginia Speeding Lawyer - What If I Don’t Think It Is A Police Officer Who Is Pulling Me Over?How Will My Status In The Military Affect My Reckless Driving Or Speeding Traffic Case? - Why Am I Being Charged With Reckless Driving For SpeedingMitigation Evidence In Reckless Driving CasesWhy Am I Charged With Reckless Driving If I Was Not Driving Recklessly? - Reckless Driving For Passing A School BusNever Prepay Your Virginia Reckless Driving or Speeding Traffic Violation - Greensville, Virginia Speeding Lawyer - Why Was I Pulled Over If I Was Traveling With The Flow Of Traffic