Author: john

HOW A TICKET CAN AFFECT YOUR INSURANCE COST?

              Most people who get a traffic ticket believe the best course of action is pay for the ticket or show up and beg the judge for mercy. These reactions are totally understandable, most of us want to just do the right thing! However, if you’ve read our articles on Virginia’s point system, you understand there are some unanticipated consequences associated with traffic violations. This article explores another one of those unanticipated consequences – increased insurance costs.

              Insurance companies consider several factors in determining rates for their customers. Those factors can include age, driving experience, type of car, and number of accidents or traffic violations a driver has received. If a driver incurs multiple traffic violations, or even just one major violation, the insurer company is almost guaranteed to raise the customer’s rates – it’s only a question of exactly how much.

              In a study done by carinsurance.com, the average percentage increase for car insurance cost for drivers who speed 11-29 MPH over the limit is 38%, which amounts to about a $505 increase. Additionally, the average percentage increase for drivers who speed 30+ MPH over the limit is 61%, which amounts to about a $803 increase.[1]

              Of course, the exact amount of insurance increase will depend on specific insurance companies, the policy of those companies, whether the violation is simple speeding, reckless driving, DUI, or other. In any event, just paying for the ticket without regard to the insurance consequences is a bad move – DON’T DO IT!!

              If you have received a speeding or reckless driving ticket and aren’t sure what to do next, contact Driving Defense Law today. Our attorneys will work with you and attempt to obtain a dismissal or reduction of your charge. We serve Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Isle of Wight, Hampton, Newport News, Northampton, Accomack and beyond.

It is our privilege to serve you and protect your legal rights! CLICK HERE for a FREE case evaluation.


[1] https://www.carinsurance.com/how-much-insurance-goes-up-for-speeding-ticket.aspx

DISMISSED – Two Reckless Driving Tickets Dismissed in Norfolk, Virginia

Attorney John McCormick recently secured a full dismissal of two reckless driving tickets in Norfolk General District Court. Our two clients were separately charged with reckless driving under Virginia Code § 46.2-862 (reckless by speed). This was the third reckless driving charge for one of our clients. Driving Defense Law was able to skillfully navigate a strategic gameplan that resulted in a full dismissal of all charges.

One of the clients sent us the following feedback:

“John McCormick is hands down the best driving defense lawyer in the entire 757 area code. Thanks to him & his office’s instructions I was able to get my 3rd reckless driving charge completely dismissed. Don’t settle for any less than the best possible defense you could have with you! VERY worth the price! Thanks again John!”

Have you been charged with reckless driving in Virginia? Contact our office for a free case evaluation. Our team will vigorously fight for you and your legal rights!

DISCLAIMER – EACH CASE IS UNIQUE AND CASE RESULTS DEPEND ON YOUR INDIVIDUAL SITUATION. CASE RESULTS DO NOT GUARANTEE OR PREDICT A SIMILAR RESULT IN ANY FUTURE CASE UNDERTAKEN BY THE LAWYER.


Reckless driving is a serious offense in Virginia as it is punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor under Virginia Code 46.2-868.

If you find yourself holding a ticket for reckless driving, contact Driving Defense Law as you could be facing a criminal record.

18.2-11 Punishment for Conviction of Misdemeanor

Class 1 misdemeanor – confinement in jail for up to a year and a fine of up to $2,500. (either or both)

There are 16 different categories of reckless driving as detailed by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. Including:

  1. Speeding more than 85 mph
  2. Speeding 20 mph or more over the limit
  3. Driving too fast for conditions
  4. Racing
  5. Passing or overtaking an ambulance or fire truck
  6. Passing a stopped school bus
  7. Passing on the crest of a hill
  8. Passing at a railroad crossing
  9. Passing two vehicles abreast
  10. Driving two vehicles abreast
  11. Failure to signal
  12. Driving with faulty brakes or improper control
  13. Reckless driving on parking lots
  14. Reckless driving with an obstructed view

What is considered reckless driving under the Virginia Code?

  • Exceeding the speed limit 46.2-862
  • Driving too fast for road or traffic conditions 46.2-861
  • Failing to maintain proper control of the vehicle 46.2-853
  • Racing 46.2-865; 46.2-866; 46.2-867
  • Failing to yield the right of way 46.2-861.1; 46.2-863; 46.2-868.1
  • Failing to give proper signals 46.2-860
  • Driving with an obstructed view 46.2-855
  • Passing a stopped school bus 46.2-859
  • Passing on or at the crest of a grade or curve 46.2-854

A conviction of reckless driving carries with it 6 demerit points and up to 11 years of staying on your record. See the following:

  • Speeding in excess of 85 mph (11 years)
  • Speeding 20 mph or more above the posted speed limit (up to 11 years)
  • Racing (11 years)
  • Passing or overtaking an emergency vehicle (11 years)
  • Passing a school bus (11 years)
  • Passing on the crest of a hill (11 years)
  • Passing at a railroad crossing (11 years)
  • Passing two vehicles abreast (11 years)
  • Driving too fast for conditions (11 years)
  • Failing to give a proper signal (11 years)
  • Faulty brakes/improper control (11 years)
  • Reckless driving in parking lots (11 years)
  • Reckless driving with an obstructed view (11 years)

Virginia Code and Other Information:

46.2-852 RECKLESS DRIVING; GENERAL RULE – § 46.2-852. RECKLESS DRIVING; GENERAL RULE (VIRGINIA.GOV)

“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.”

46.2-868 RECKLESS DRIVING; PENALTIES – § 46.2-868. RECKLESS DRIVING; PENALTIES (VIRGINIA.GOV) 
  • Every person convicted of reckless driving is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
  • Every person convicted of reckless driving and was driving without a valid license or as a result of reckless driving caused the death of another is guilty of a Class 6 felony
  • Punishment includes a mandatory minimum fine of $250
18.2-11 PUNISHMENT FOR CONVICTION OF MISDEMEANOR – § 18.2-11. PUNISHMENT FOR CONVICTION OF MISDEMEANOR (VIRGINIA.GOV)

Class 1 misdemeanor – confinement in jail for up to a year and fine of up to $2,500. (either or both)

Exceeding the Speed Limit 

A person is guilty of reckless driving who drives a motor vehicle on the highways in at a speed of 20 miles per hour or more in the excess of the applicable maximum speed OR in excess of 85 miles per hour regardless of the applicable maximum speed limit.

Failure to Maintain Control

After a car accident a police officer might hand you a citation that charges you with failure to maintain control (reckless driving). Failure to maintain control is charged as a Class 1 misdemeanor.

WARNING: You can be Charged with DUI even if you are not Driving

According to Virginia Code 18.2-266, it is unlawful for a person to drive or operate any motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. To better understand how you can be charged with DUI without driving the car, the word “operate” is important.

In Commonwealth v. Enriquez, the Supreme Court of Virginia established a bright line rule regarding what it means to “operate” a vehicle. The Court reasoned, “We take this opportunity to state that the statutory definition of “operator” is controlling and that any individual who is in actual physical control of a vehicle is an ‘operator.’” The Court goes on to say, “when an intoxicated person is seated behind the steering wheel of a motor vehicle on a public highway and the key is in the ignition switch, he is in actual control of the vehicle, and therefore, is guilty of operating the vehicle while under the influence of alcohol within the meaning of Code § 18.2-266.”

In Sarafin v. Commonwealth, the Supreme Court once again examined what it means to be charged with DUI while sleeping in a parked car. Here, the Court deemed that for a person to be charged with DUI, it does not matter whether the car is on a public highway or in a private driveway, as long as the individual is in control of the vehicle then they can be charged with DUI.

So next time you are out having fun and decide to sleep in your car before heading home, maybe think about getting a ride instead. You could potentially be charged with DUI.

Sources:

Enriquez v. Commonwealth, 283 Va. 511, 722 S.E.2d 252 (2012)

Sarafin v. Commonwealth, 288 Va. 320, 764 S.E.2d 71 (2014)

What is the Difference Between an Infraction and a Misdemeanor in Virginia?

You might be confused what exactly a traffic offense is. There are two main types of traffic offenses: an infraction and a misdemeanor.

Usually what you think of in regard to a traffic offense is a simple infraction that is usually penalized with a fine and points on a person’s driving record. Some traffic infractions include speeding and running a red light, all of which are punishable by a fine and points on your record.

In Virginia there are a few traffic offenses that are to be charged as a misdemeanor. Some of these being reckless driving and driving on a suspended license. Misdemeanors carry a heavier punishment which can result in jail time and will appear in a criminal background check.

If you are holding a ticket for a traffic offense it is important to know whether you are facing an infraction or a misdemeanor. This is one reason why a reckless driving charge is so significant in Virginia. Reckless driving carries potential jail time and will show up on a criminal background check. There are many ways to fight a reckless driving charge to eliminate or reduce the charge. Contact our office today for a free case evaluation. Our attorneys have experience in courts throughout Hampton Roads, including Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Isle of Wight, Hampton, and Newport News.

Does Miranda Apply to Traffic Stops?

“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?”

If you’ve heard these words before then you know them as your Miranda rights, or the Miranda warning derived from the Fifth Amendment. It is also likely that you have heard a few myths about Miranda rights. One of these misconceptions is that during a traffic stop, an officer must read you your Miranda Rights or the charges against you will be dismissed. This is simply not true.

Miranda Rights only have to be read in scenarios where an individual is in police custody or they under questioning by law enforcement. Therefore, if an officer pulls you over for any reason, and does not arrest you, then your Miranda Rights will not be read.

However, just because your Miranda Rights are not required to be read to you during a traffic stop, it does not mean that you can’t invoke your Fifth Amendment rights. After the officer requests to see your identification and registration, the officer will often ask a few questions. Such as, how fast were you driving? Do you know why I pulled you over? Invoking the Fifth Amendment gives you the right to refuse answer incriminating questions.

Although it is important to note that whatever you chose, always remain cooperative and respectful towards police officers. Cooperation can be a key factor in helping your case if charged with a traffic offense.

DISMISSED – Reckless Driving & Failure to Appear

Attorney Pat Trompeter recently secured a full dismissal of both reckless driving and failure to appear in Suffolk General District Court. Our client was charged with reckless driving under Virginia Code § 46.2-853. After failing to appear at the first court hearing, a capias was issued for the client’s arrest. Driving Defense Law was able to skillfully navigate a strategic gameplan that resulted in a full dismissal of all charges. Have you been charged with reckless driving in Virginia? Contact our office for a free case evaluation. Our team will vigorously fight for you and your legal rights!

DISCLAIMER – EACH CASE IS UNIQUE AND CASE RESULTS DEPEND ON YOUR INDIVIDUAL SITUATION. CASE RESULTS DO NOT GUARANTEE OR PREDICT A SIMILAR RESULT IN ANY FUTURE CASE UNDERTAKEN BY THE LAWYER.


Reckless driving is a serious offense in Virginia as it is punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor under Virginia Code 46.2-868.

If you find yourself holding a ticket for reckless driving, contact Driving Defense Law as you could be facing a criminal record.

18.2-11 Punishment for Conviction of Misdemeanor

Class 1 misdemeanor – confinement in jail for up to a year and a fine of up to $2,500. (either or both)

There are 16 different categories of reckless driving as detailed by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. Including:

  1. Speeding more than 85 mph
  2. Speeding 20 mph or more over the limit
  3. Driving too fast for conditions
  4. Racing
  5. Passing or overtaking an ambulance or fire truck
  6. Passing a stopped school bus
  7. Passing on the crest of a hill
  8. Passing at a railroad crossing
  9. Passing two vehicles abreast
  10. Driving two vehicles abreast
  11. Failure to signal
  12. Driving with faulty brakes or improper control
  13. Reckless driving on parking lots
  14. Reckless driving with an obstructed view

What is considered reckless driving under the Virginia Code?

  • Exceeding the speed limit 46.2-862
  • Driving too fast for road or traffic conditions 46.2-861
  • Failing to maintain proper control of the vehicle 46.2-853
  • Racing 46.2-865; 46.2-866; 46.2-867
  • Failing to yield the right of way 46.2-861.1; 46.2-863; 46.2-868.1
  • Failing to give proper signals 46.2-860
  • Driving with an obstructed view 46.2-855
  • Passing a stopped school bus 46.2-859
  • Passing on or at the crest of a grade or curve 46.2-854

A conviction of reckless driving carries with it 6 demerit points and up to 11 years of staying on your record. See the following:

  • Speeding in excess of 85 mph (11 years)
  • Speeding 20 mph or more above the posted speed limit (up to 11 years)
  • Racing (11 years)
  • Passing or overtaking an emergency vehicle (11 years)
  • Passing a school bus (11 years)
  • Passing on the crest of a hill (11 years)
  • Passing at a railroad crossing (11 years)
  • Passing two vehicles abreast (11 years)
  • Driving too fast for conditions (11 years)
  • Failing to give a proper signal (11 years)
  • Faulty brakes/improper control (11 years)
  • Reckless driving in parking lots (11 years)
  • Reckless driving with an obstructed view (11 years)

Virginia Code and Other Information:

46.2-852 RECKLESS DRIVING; GENERAL RULE – § 46.2-852. RECKLESS DRIVING; GENERAL RULE (VIRGINIA.GOV)

“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.”

46.2-868 RECKLESS DRIVING; PENALTIES – § 46.2-868. RECKLESS DRIVING; PENALTIES (VIRGINIA.GOV) 
  • Every person convicted of reckless driving is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
  • Every person convicted of reckless driving and was driving without a valid license or as a result of reckless driving caused the death of another is guilty of a Class 6 felony
  • Punishment includes a mandatory minimum fine of $250
18.2-11 PUNISHMENT FOR CONVICTION OF MISDEMEANOR – § 18.2-11. PUNISHMENT FOR CONVICTION OF MISDEMEANOR (VIRGINIA.GOV)

Class 1 misdemeanor – confinement in jail for up to a year and fine of up to $2,500. (either or both)

Exceeding the Speed Limit 

A person is guilty of reckless driving who drives a motor vehicle on the highways in at a speed of 20 miles per hour or more in the excess of the applicable maximum speed OR in excess of 85 miles per hour regardless of the applicable maximum speed limit.

Failure to Maintain Control

After a car accident a police officer might hand you a citation that charges you with failure to maintain control (reckless driving). Failure to maintain control is charged as a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Wear Your Seatbelt

According to a study conducted in 2017, almost half of the people who died in fatal car accidents that year were not wearing seat belts.

The leading cause of death among those aged between 1-54 years is due to motor vehicle crashes. Wearing a seatbelt is an effective way to save lives in these crashes. However, young adults, between the ages of 18-24, are the least likely to wear seat belts. In 2019, around 1,600 young adults, ranging from the ages of 15 to 20, died in motor vehicle crashes, with almost half of them not wearing a seat belt.

Under Virginia Code 46.2-1094, any driver and any other person occupying the front seat must wear a seat belt along with any passengers under 18 years old. You should also know that in Virginia seat belt laws are both secondary and primary enforcement law. For adults 18 and older, the officer can’t pull you over for not wearing a seatbelt but if they pull you over for a different violation, you can be fined for not wearing a seat belt, as a secondary offense. For people under 18, the individual can be pulled over for not wearing a seatbelt, as a primary offense.

Regardless of the law on this matter, it is proven that seatbelts help save lives. The next time you’re driving somewhere, remember to buckle up!

Sources:

Seat Belts: Get the Facts | Motor Vehicle Safety | CDC Injury Center

How Many Lives Do Seatbelts Save? – (2022 Stats!) (sensiblemotive.com)

Three Essentials of Traffic Stop Etiquette

According to The Stanford Open Policing Project, more than 20 million motorists every year are pulled over. If you find yourself being pulled over, here are three essential tips to keep in mind:

1. Pull over safely

If you see those flashing lights behind you, pull over your vehicle as soon as you can. You should pull off to the right side of the road and turn of your car.

In addition to pulling over, you might want to turn on your hazard lights so as to alert other drivers that you are pulling over.

Whenever an officer is behind you with flashing lights, it is always a good idea to pull over, even if you are unsure about the reasoning for the stop. Pulling over will show the officer you are aware of your surroundings and that you are willing to be cooperative.

2. Remain in the car

Unless the officer has directed you to exit the vehicle, remain in your car, with your hands on the steering wheel. Be sure to fully roll down your window when the officer approaches the vehicle. Once the officer has greeted you. you will be asked to present your driver’s license and vehicle registration.

3. Be Respectful

You might be confused as to why you were pulled over, maybe even irritated as you have things to do, but it is very important you remain calm and act respectful towards the officer. Acting otherwise could lead the officer to escalate what was once a simple stop.

Being respectful toward the officer can also be helpful towards your case. Sometimes the officer will issue you a warning instead of a ticket. Regardless of what the officer does, always remain respectful because if you end up in front of a judge, everything will be repeated to the judge.

Remember, no one likes getting pulled over but following these few tips will help make the process go smoother. Police officers are human too so be respectful, it might even reduce your penalty.

Sources:

Findings – The Stanford Open Policing Project

How to Reduce Reckless Driving to Improper Driving

You’re probably here because you’ve been pulled over for reckless driving. If that’s the case, you need to know about improper driving. There is a big difference between being charged with reckless driving versus improper driving.  

Reckless driving is punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor under Virginia Code 46.2-868. This punishment carries with it potential jail time for up to a year and a fine of up to $2,500. In addition, you are facing 6 demerit points to be added to your driving record that will remain for up to 11 years. You can receive a ticket for reckless driving a number of different ways. Including: 

  1. Speeding more than 85 mph 
  1. Speeding 20 mph or more over the limit 
  1. Driving too fast for conditions 
  1. Racing 
  1. Passing or overtaking an ambulance or fire truck 
  1. Passing a stopped school bus 
  1. Passing on the crest of a hill 
  1. Passing at a railroad crossing 
  1. Passing two vehicles abreast 
  1. Driving two vehicles abreast 
  1. Failure to signal 
  1. Driving with faulty brakes or improper control 
  1. Reckless driving on parking lots 
  1. Reckless driving with an obstructed view 

No one wants to be charged with reckless driving. But did you know, you can often get your reckless driving ticket reduced to improper driving? 

Under Virginia Code 46.2-869, someone who receives a reckless driving ticket can often obtain a reduction of their ticket to improper driving if the degree of culpability is slight. The degree of culpability considers many factors, including whether you have a clean driving record, whether you performed community service, if you took the effort to complete a driver improvement course, and whether it was a borderline speeding case.  

The punishment for improper driving is much less than reckless driving. If charged with improper driving, you are facing a $500 fine and 3 demerit points on your driving record that will remain for 3 years. While paying a fine and receiving demerit points is not ideal, you are no longer facing jail time or the possible suspension of your license.  

If you find yourself holding a ticket for reckless driving, contact the attorneys at Driving Defense Law so we can create a unique gameplan and roadmap for your case. We will work with you and attempt to obtain a dismissal or reduction of your charge. Our attorneys have experience in Courts throughout Virgina, including Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Isle of Wight, Hampton, Newport News, Northampton, Accomack and beyond. It is our privilege to serve you and protect your legal rights! Call now for a FREE case evaluation.

Happy 4th of July and Drive Safely!

According to the American Automobile Association, more than 42 million people will be traveling the roads this Fourth of July weekend. Virginia alone is expected to have 1.2 people drive at least 50 miles this weekend. As fun as this holiday is, chilling by the pool with a cool drink, please make safety your priority and get back home safe! This weekend, the Virginia State Police will increase their patrols, hoping to reduce accidents in the area. Unfortunately, last year there were 12 traffic deaths, 61 drivers were arrested under the influence, 4,025 speeders, 1,434 reckless drivers, and 510 citations were issued to people not wearing their seatbelt.

Remember, Virginia treats all first offense DUI and DWI as a criminal act under Virginia Code § 18.2-270. You can be charged with a DUI if your blood alcohol concentration is 0.08 percent or higher, or if you have detectable controlled substances in your system. So, if you are looking to kick back and relax this weekend, make sure you have a designated driver. Any person that is driving under the influence and it is their first DUI, is facing a minimum fine of $250, a requirement to complete the Alcohol Safety Action Program, up to 12 months in jail, and a one-year license revocation. If this is your second or third DUI, you are facing even more serious consequences. If you are under the age of 21 and convicted of a DUI, you are facing a mandatory one-year suspension of driving privileges, a minimum fine of $500 or 50 hours of community service and up to 12 months in jail. You should also expect to receive six demerit points on your driving record if convicted of a DUI.

Reckless driving is also a serious offense in Virginia as it is punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor under Virginia Code § 46.2-868. There are 16 offenses in Virginia that constitute reckless driving. The most common offenses are those that involve speeding. Under Virginia Code § 46.2-868, you can be charged with reckless driving for speeding more than 20mph over the posted limit or speeding more than 85mph over any posted speed limit. Other common offenses charged as reckless driving include driving too fast for road conditions under Virginia Code § 46.2-861, and failing to maintain proper control of the vehicle under Virginia Code § 46.2-853. Getting a reckless driving ticket is no fun and can result in some serious consequences. Under Virginia Code § 18.2-11, punishment for a Class 1 misdemeanor is either confinement in jail for up to twelve months or a fine of up to $2,500. You should also expect to receive six demerit points on your driving record if convicted of reckless driving.

A car accident, a ticket for driving under the influence or reckless driving, or even a citation for not wearing your seatbelt, is not something you want to face this weekend. Have a fantastic Fourth of July and remember to make safety your priority!

Sources:

Record number of travelers to hit U.S. roads for July 4 weekend -AAA | Nasdaq

Over 1.2M Virginians expected to hit the road for the holiday weekend (msn.com)

Virginia State Police urge drivers to plan ahead for 4th of July weekend (wsls.com)

Copyright © drivingdefenselaw.com – A Division of McCormick Law, PC. All rights reserved. The results of specific cases reported are not meant to be a prediction or guarantee of any other case. Each case depends upon a variety of factors specific to that case. The testimonials on this website reflect the real-life experiences and opinions of our clients. However, the experiences are personal to those particular clients, and may not necessarily be representative of all clients. We do not claim, and you should not assume, that all clients will have the same experience. Your outcome may vary.