Virginia Reckless Driving by General Danger to Life, Limb, & Property
Reckless driving is a serious charge in Virginia. In particular, when being charged with danger to life, limb, and property can and does have serious consequences. Essentially, this charge means that the speed of the vehicle does not matter as much as the manner in which the vehicle was being operated; if it is a danger to a person or to property, then this constitutes reckless driving. Because of this, it can often be the “catch-all” charge police officers will charge a driver with. Therefore, it is important to hire an experienced Virginia reckless driving attorney so that the driver obtains the best defense possible.
Reckless Driving by Danger to Life, Limb, and Property in Virginia
Reckless driving by danger to life, limb, or property is a general definition of reckless driving. This type of reckless driving states that it doesn’t really matter how fast somebody was going if the manner in which they have operating a vehicle presents as a danger to a person or a property. It’s the general catch-all category of reckless driving in which officers can decide that somebody who is driving was dangerous and go ahead and charge them with it.
Difference From Other Reckless Driving Charges
This charge is different because it’s very vague. There’s a lot of room for interpretation and opinions. Sometimes, this makes it really difficult for an officer to adequately prove the case. The statute is very broad and it’s possible for the alleged behavior to be something that has never been charged before, which would provide a huge open door for your attorney to jump in and argue against.
How Police Issue This Charge
A Virginia police officer can issue you a summons for reckless driving simply stating that your driving was dangerous and that it didn’t fall into any of the pre-determined categories set out by statute. The catch is that while he is fully able to charge you with dangerous driving, even if it doesn’t fit with anything, he still needs to prove in court, beyond a reasonable doubt, that your driving was dangerous enough to present a risk to life, limb, or property and that it was reckless of you to be operating your vehicle in such a manner. Therefore, he can issue a citation for any number of dangerous behaviors, but a conviction is not guaranteed.
How An Attorney Can Help
This is the second most common way that reckless driving is charged, second only to reckless driving by excessive speeding. It’s beneficial to hire a reckless driving attorney for this kind of an offense because the consequences are really serious if someone gets a conviction for this. Reckless driving is a criminal offense and it’s important to thoroughly evaluate all of the facts of the case and figure out the best way to fight the allegation in court to avoid potentially having a class 1 misdemeanor on your permanent record.
An attorney can help you do this and is really the best way to ensure that you have a fighting chance to beat the charge or have it reduced at least to something less severe such as improper driving or speeding. If there are bad facts and it’s not possible to have a charge reduced then a lawyer can still help negotiate the final punishment so that the sentence ultimately won’t be as damaging as it would have been had you walked in the court by yourself.
Evidence Presented in Virginia Courts
Because general reckless driving is so vague, the evidence is going to depend on exactly what is being alleged that the defendant was doing. The different types of behavior charged is endless. The officer generally has to provide evidence to show that whatever behavior he is charging you with did rise to the level of presenting a danger to life, limb, or property, this behavior occurred beyond a reasonable doubt and was due to the reckless fault of the defendant.
How an Attorney can Help
Sometimes, the evidence is only the officer’s opinion, but without more than the officer’s opinion, it’s not as likely that a conviction will come of it. Your attorney can help you figure out what the evidence is against you and what the likelihood is of a conviction resulting from this evidence. Your attorney can also provide an alternative explanation for the alleged behavior so that you can be possibly put in a situation where the charge is dismissed or reduced.
An attorney can help you understand what it is that the officer needs to prove in court and can analyze your case facts to figure out the best strategy. Your attorney can also research to see if the behavior you’re being charged with has ever been charged before and see what case law states in terms of whether it does result in a reckless driving conviction or not.
How These Charges Affect a CDL Holder
Reckless driving of any type is possibly going to affect a commercial driver’s license. Reckless driving is considered a serious violation. Two convictions within three years leads to a 60-day disqualification of your commercial driver’s license. Three or more convictions in three years result in a 120-day disqualification. Disqualification of somebody’s commercial driver’s license means they’re no longer allowed to operate a commercial vehicle.
This is possible even if someone was driving their personal vehicle. In situations where someone’s commercial driver’s license is their career or their livelihood, it is very important to take this into consideration if you’re facing this charge.
How This Charge is Handled in Court
In Virginia court, general reckless driving is a lot more subjective than every other type of reckless driving. Because of this, there is a lot more that the court considers in deciding whether somebody’s behavior is considered reckless than just the reckless driving statute. The statute itself is vague so this means that there’s a lot of room for opinion and interpretation possible.
It’s possible for a police officer to issue general reckless driving for anything. Some things may not even be criminal in nature, therefore the defense may rely a lot more heavily on case law from previously decided cases and on cross-examination of the officer. The attorney’s argument as to why the driver is not guilty becomes more important in these types of cases than in other types of reckless driving. Because other types of reckless driving are much more specific and there are very specific points that need to be met in order for a conviction to result.