Charges such as reckless driving, especially when charged under a general statute used to define such charges as endangering the life, limb or property of another, often depend upon the subjective perceptions of witnesses. Charges that are based on the various points of view and subjective perception of witnesses, especially in cases where the prosecution is required to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, often leave room for a seasoned traffic attorney to challenge the prosecutions version of events, which may allow you to mount a successful legal defense in response to a reckless driving charge. Below are some potential legal defense strategies that may be pursued by your attorney, depending upon the circumstances of your situation.
Challenging Witness Testimony
Due to the subjective nature of witness testimony, multiple witnesses frequently provide conflicting details regarding the same event. This can become a real issue for prosecutors who are relying on the testimony of an eyewitness in order to prove guilt as it provides an opportunity to establish reasonable doubt. A skilled trial lawyer has the experience needed to examine witness testimony in order to find any flaws or oversights that may allow for reduced charges or even an outright dismissal.
Ascertaining Driver Identity
In order to obtain a conviction for reckless driving, the prosecutor must first establish that you were the driver of the vehicle involved. This may not always be a straight-forward issue, especially in accidents involving multiple vehicles, each of which may contain multiple drivers and passengers. It may not always be clear who was driving a particular vehicle and whether or not reckless behavior may be attributed to you.
Ensuring Accurate Speedometer Calibration
Having your speedometer inspected to ensure that it is functioning properly can be very helpful. A speedometer that is faulty, poorly calibrated or unable to display the correct speed at the time you received a ticket may be used to obtain a reduced charge or penalty. A mechanic can perform diagnostics tests on your vehicle to see if your speedometer was able to perform accurately at the speed you were alleged to have been driving. An experienced traffic attorney can recommend a mechanic able to perform diagnostic testing on your speedometer. Such a test is essential for determining whether or not a calibration defense may be useful. Even inaccuracies that result in variances of only a few mph can turn a criminal reckless driving charge into a simple traffic infraction.
Defenses Based on Radar or LIDAR Devices
In the event that police officers utilize a radar or laser devise (LIDAR) in order to determine your speed at the time a ticket was issued, there may be several legal opportunities to challenge the results. Thee devices are required by law to be calibrated every six months, and the officer involved is required to provide certification detailing when and by whom the last calibration was performed. Devices that have not been properly calibrated and erroneous or incomplete paperwork may allow the ticket or charges to be challenged. The assistance of an experienced attorney may be a key asset in identifying any issues that may work in your favor.
Challenging Results Obtained Through Pacing
Police officers often employ a technique known as pacing in order to determine the speed of a driver. This technique required the officer to pull into traffic behind you in an effort to match your speed. A ticket may be issued in the event that the cruiser’s speed exceeds the posted speed limit. While this technique is widely employed, it is not always able to provide accurate results. Conditions such as traffic and road curvature may lead to an incorrect determination, one that a skilled defense lawyer may be able to successfully challenge in an effort to reduce legal penalties or to obtain a dismissal of charges.
Traffic Charges Resulting from a Legitimate Emergency
If your speeding tickets and traffic charges were the result of a legitimate emergency, it may be possible to have the charges dismissed entirely. What may be considered reckless driving under normal circumstances may be deemed permissible in the event of a legitimate emergency, such as a serious or potentially life-threatening medical emergency. Should you be facing a ticket or traffic charges from your response to a legitimate emergency, our firm can help.
We Are Ready to Represent You!
It is important to remember that you should not enter into court proceedings without a licensed and qualified legal representative. Successfully defending a reckless driving charge in Virginia requires a thorough understanding of Virginia law and court proceedings. The Brown Firm PLLC offers the legal assistance needed to address a traffic citation or reckless driving charge with greater ease and success. We offer free initial consultations so that you can discuss your case and understand your options.
If you have been charged with reckless driving in Virginia, call our office or contact us online to set up your free consultation today.