Petersburg Virginia Reckless Driving Speeding Lawyer
Petersburg sits at the intersection of Interstate 85 and Interstate 95. As such, the city of Petersburg is notorious for many Code of Virginia traffic violations including reckless driving and speeding. Additionally, if you have received one of these traffic violations you should contact Petersburg traffic lawyer Trey Mattox.
The City of Petersburg lies at the nexus of two major east coast highways. As you would expect, this heavily traveled area can be particularly troublesome for motorists unfamiliar with the area. Notably, the speed limit through this section suddenly drops to 55 mph after miles of 70 mph zones. Undoubtedly, many of our clients find themselves in the unfortunate position of missing one speed limit sign. Moreover, it becomes easy to find yourself traveling well above the posted speed limit without realizing you have. Indeed, they ultimately receive a Petersburg traffic summons from a local or state officer for speeding and reckless driving.
Our experience with Petersburg traffic cases has found the judge to be fair and reasonable when hearing traffic matters. Undoubtedly, it is important to have legal representation that is familiar the court you are set to appear in. Your Petersburg traffic attorney should be knowledgeable about the preferences and processes specific to the local court and judge in your reckless driving or speeding case.
A DUI conviction in Virginia carries very extreme consequences. As such, a DUI can often lead to time in jail. DUI or driving under the influence can be applied to both drug and alcohol cases. Additionally, there is no categorical difference in Virginia in between DUI v. DWI. However, the offense is most frequently referred to as a DUI. Similar to reckless driving, a first offense DUI charge in Virginia is a class 1 misdemeanor. Therefore, a DUI carries a maximum 12 month license suspension, $2,500 fine, and 12 months jail sentence.
Moreover, there are mandatory minimum sentences for some DUI cases. A mandatory minimum sentence must be enforced upon conviction of an elevated BAC DUI. A DUI can become elevated due to the defendants blood alcohol content (BAC) or 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 how these factors apply to your DUI case.
Trey analyzes each DUI case with extreme care in order to ensure all possible defenses are used at trial. This careful analysis can become important at trial and during negotiations with the prosecutor. There are often questionable situations in a DUI case. At times, these may not be significant enough to lead to a dismissal. That said, these situations can be used as leverage for a better plea agreement. It is extremely important to contact an Petersburg traffic lawyer who is willing to spend the time to go over every detail. Moreover, this will ensure we get the best possible result for your DUI case.
Defending Speeding Cases
Speeding traffic tickets in Virginia can vary significantly depending on the nature of the offense. Notably, the most severe cases are often charged as reckless driving by speed. This designation elevates the offense from a simple traffic ticket to a class 1 misdemeanor. Although speeding is an infraction rather than a misdemeanor, a conviction can still carry very serious consequences. As such, this Petersburg traffic ticket conviction can lead to high fines, points on your driving record, license suspension, and increased insurance rates.
Petersburg traffic attorney Trey Mattox has represented thousands of individuals charged with speeding infractions. Further, Trey has an outstanding record of having these speeding traffic tickets reduced or dismissed. When contesting speeding tickets, Trey regularly saves Mattox Law clients hundreds of dollars in fines and insurance premiums. More, we are able to preserve your driving privileges. Trey is intimately familiar with Petersburg speeding ticket laws. He knows what is required of the officer ensuring that all possible legal strategies are pursued.
What is Reckless Driving?
There are many varieties of reckless driving in Virginia. The most prevalent is Virginia Code § 46.2-862 Exceeding speed limit. The reckless driving VA code states:
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-five miles per hour regardless of the applicable maximum speed limit.
Classification and Penalties
As a class 1 misdemeanor, reckless driving carries serious penalties including a six month license suspension, $2,500 fine, and 12 months in jail. Furthermore, there are also several secondary consequences such as:
- Increased insurance premiums costing you hundreds of dollars!
- Points on your driving record lead to license suspensions!
- Failed criminal background checks affecting employment and security clearance opportunities!
The Reckless Driving Statutes
Reckless driving in the Virginia Code has 14 sections containing different variations or definitions. 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.
Other Petersburg Traffic Ticket Infractions
The more serious Petersburg traffic tickets like reckless driving are characterized as misdemeanors or felony’s. However, there are many other Petersburg traffic ticket violations with plenty serious consequences that are classified as infractions. Traffic ticket infractions can carry points for your driving record. Additionally, they drastically affect your insurance rates but do not result in a criminal conviction. Petersburg traffic ticket attorney Trey Mattox is ready to navigate you through process of defending against these infractions:
- § 46.2-802 Drive on right side of highways
- § 46.2-806 One-way roadways and highways
- § 46.2-808.1 Use of crossovers on controlled access highways
- § 46.2-809 Regulation of truck traffic on primary and secondary highways
- § 46.2-809.1 Regulation of residential cut-through traffic by Board
- § 46.2-814 Driving through safety zone prohibited
- § 46.2-816 Following too closely
- § 46.2-817 Disregarding signal by law-enforcement officer to stop; eluding police; penalties
- § 46.2-821 Vehicles entering highways shall stop or yield right-of-way
- § 46.2-822 Right-of-way at circular intersections
- § 46.2-830 Fail to obey highway sign
- § 46.2-830.1 Failure to obey highway sign while sleeping
- § 46.2-833 Fail to obey traffic signal
- § 46.2-833.1 Evasion of a traffic control device
- § 46.2-835 Right turn on steady red light after stopping
- § 46.2-844 Passing stopped school bus
- § 46.2-845 Illegal U-turn
- § 46.2-870 Speeding
Each Petersburg traffic ticket case is unique. They all carry individual issues leading to a variety of potential results. Notably, the biggest factor affecting the outcome of a case is the original traffic ticket received or allegation. Certainly, we expect far different outcomes for reckless driving or DUI charges as compared to speeding traffic tickets.
However, there are many other factors that can affect potential results involved with every Petersburg traffic case. One of the most important factors the court will take into consideration is your demeanor with the police officer. Obviously, the judge will be far more lenient to an individual who is polite and cooperative as opposed to argumentative or uncooperative.
Another major factor is the number of prior violations and points on your driving record. Namely, most judges and commonwealth’s attorneys are unwilling agree to a favorable outcome without viewing your driving record. Clearly, a clean driving record will allow for much better results for your Petersburg traffic ticket than one with multiple prior reckless driving, speeding, or other traffic violations.
Driving School for Dismissal
Driving school is a very powerful tool in the defense of Petersburg traffic violations. Whereas, in many cases I will advise my clients to complete driving school before the court date. In other cases, the judge may require you to complete driving school. Under those circumstances, it is up to you to get the driving school completed by the deadline set by the court.
In many cases, judges will issue driving school for your first ticket. Thereafter, they are less willing to allow driving school for subsequent tickets. Of course, courts and judges differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. As such, some judges 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 comply with the courts order you must submit the original certificate of completion by the deadline. In addition to the certificate, you will be required to pay court costs which can vary.
Driving School for Reduction
In some cases the speed may be too high, or there may be too many prior violations for the court to be willing to dismiss your Petersburg traffic case. In those situations, the court may still require driving school to reduce the charge.
There are a couple different routes the court may go in regard to the reduction of your Petersburg traffic case. The most common and likely scenario would be a reduction to a simple speeding violation. As well as that, another common outcome would be the reduction to improper driving. In other circumstances, the court may be willing to reduce the original Petersburg traffic violation to some sort of non-moving violation. Moreover, common non-moving violations include defective speedometer, defective equipment, or failure to obey a highway sign while sleeping.
There are also situations where the court will not reduce the speed, but they will amend the reckless driving code section to simple speeding. Therefore, under that scenario the misdemeanor would be dropped. However, you would still likely get the same amount of points on your record. Finally, there are some instances where the court is unwilling to reduce the violation. That said, the court will waive an active jail sentence and/or license suspension upon the completion of a defensive driving course.
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 your driving. As a non-moving violation, defective equipment does not carry any points on your driving record.
Many judges in Virginia use defective equipment as a means to reduce a Petersburg traffic violation that otherwise would carry points on your driving record. Typically, this is used as a reward for those folks with good driving records. Additionally, defective equipment is reserved for those folks charged with less egregious violations. Moreover, this outcome allows the judge to reward someone with a good record by keeping points off the record. However, this reduction 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 while still allowing him to collect a fine. In many cases, the judge will keep the fine at the standard based on the originally charged speed. In other cases, the judge may enhance the fine for having a few priors on your record. Finally, demeanor issues with the officer can also cause the judge to enhance the fine.
For some Petersburg traffic cases, avoiding any points or having the case dismissed may not always be possible. In those cases, our focus will often shift to reducing points going on your driving record and avoiding the misdemeanor conviction. Reckless driving is a class 1 misdemeanor. Therefore, we need to ensure that you are not convicted of reckless driving to prevent you from having a criminal record. One option for the court to reduce a reckless driving charge is speeding.
Simple speeding is just a traffic infraction and therefore will avoid the misdemeanor conviction. Additionally, most state’s DMV point systems are based on speed. Moreover, points are based on mph over the speed limit for a speeding violation. Therefore, convincing the court to reduce the speed should reduce the points going on your record. This reduction in points can then have several secondary consequences as well.
In some states, a speeding conviction over a certainly threshold, such as 15 mph over the speed limit, can lead to an automatic license suspension. By reducing the speed, we can ensure that your license is not administratively suspended. Additionally, a reduction in speed will also help to ensure that insurance rates are not effected. Most insurance companies will use mph over the speed limit as part of their analysis. Therefore, the lower the speed the less likely your insurance will be affected by the Petersburg traffic case.
Improper driving is a frequently used reduction specific to reckless driving cases. Moreover, I find improper driving is most frequently used in accident related cases. That said, it is certainly used in reckless driving by speed cases as well.
Many judges and commonwealth’s attorneys prefer improper driving because it allows them to issue an elevated fine of $500.00. In contrast, the maximum fine for a simple speeding conviction of $250.00. However, improper driving only stays on a Virginia record for 3 years. In contrast, speeding stays on your record for 5 years and 11 years for reckless driving.
An improper driving reduction will accomplish the primary goals of reckless driving representation. First, it will avoid the class 1 misdemeanor conviction. Second, this will reduce the number of points on your record. Improper driving, similar to a simple speeding violation, is just a traffic ticket infraction. Thus, this will not appear on your criminal record. Additionally, on a Virginia driving record, improper driving will cut the points in half from a 6 to 3. Of course, this will help to keep your insurance from being affected.
Unfortunately, there are certain cases that, despite our best efforts, result in a conviction of the your Petersburg traffic violation. Certainly, in most cases our number one goal is to avoid a conviction for the alleged Petersburg traffic offense. However, 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 reasons. Some of the main reasons include the nature of the alleged offense, the underlying facts, and your prior record. In these situations, we are hoping to convince the court to reduce the consequences of a conviction. Namely these consequences include a license suspension, fine, and jail sentence.
Petersburg Traffic Representation
Mattox Law has extensive experience representing individuals charged with a wide variety of Petersburg traffic violations in this jurisdiction including reckless driving and speeding. In the last three years. Moreover, our firm has represented hundreds of clients in this area. Importantly, Trey has successfully defended these cases providing results that in nearly every instance avoid a conviction for the traffic misdemeanor or infraction alleged. Therefore, if you have been charged with a traffic crime or infraction, contact Petersburg traffic lawyer Trey Mattox today.
Traffic Offense Resources
Petersburg General District Court
11th Judicial District of Virginia
Clerk: Ms Dana Helm Shannon
Phone: (804) 733-2374
Fax: (804) 733-2375
Clerk’s Office Hours
8:00 AM – 4:00 PM
35 East Tabb Street
Petersburg, VA 2380
General District Judges
Hon. Ray P. Lupold III, Presiding Judge
Hon. Mayo K. Gravatt, Chief Judge
Hon. Robert Beman Beasley Jr.