Reckless Driving Accident Cases

An accident is not enough to prove reckless driving in Virginia. However, when there is a serious (or sometimes even a minor) accident the police are quick to write reckless driving tickets in Virginia. However, proving what caused the accident is essential to reckless driving accident cases in Virginia.

You should not be convicted unless the government can prove that reckless driving caused the accident. Let me give an example. The police come across a totaled car on the side of a 55 mpg rural road. The driver was ejected from the car, the engine block and bits of the car are strewn across 300 feet and the trees are sheared off 20 feet above the ground from the impact of the wreckage in the air. The police write a ticket for reckless driving and deliver it to the driver at the hospital. There are no statements from the driver and no witnesses.

Under Virginia law this reckless driving case should be dismissed because there is no proof what caused the accident.

Here is another example. A driver rear ends another on the highway. The front driver doesn’t see what happened, just felt the impact. The rear driver doesn’t give an explanation or is never asked what happened.

Under Virginia law this reckless driving case should also be dismissed because the police do not know beyond a reasonable doubt that reckless driving caused this accident.

If you are ticketed for reckless driving, remember, the police must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that reckless driving occurred NOT that an accident occurred. An accident is not enough to prove reckless driving in Virginia.

Luke J. Nichols

The law firm of Nichols & Green pllc

(703) 383-9222

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Last week a wonderful man was laid to rest. Virginia State trooper Andrew Fox was killed in early October by a car while directing traffic. He had just transferred from Northern Virginia. In Fairfax Co. I had the privilege of working with him on many occasions. He was universally liked. He was a great person, a great state trooper and he will be sorely missed.

When you see those troopers on the side of the road, please slow down.

Luke J. Nichols

the law firm of Nichols & Green pllc.


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Pleading No Contest in Virginia Is the Same as Pleading Guilty

In Virginia, drivers can plead “guilty”, “not guilty” or “no contest” (no contest is also called “nolo contendere”). However, there is no practical difference between no contest (nolo contender) and guilty.

In many states, “no contest” is used to protect defendants from law suits stemming from their traffic ticket or criminal charge. BUT NOT IN VIRGINIA!

Va Code § 8.01-418 states:

“Whenever, in any civil action, it is contended that any party thereto pled guilty or nolo contendere or suffered a forfeiture in a prosecution for a criminal offense or traffic infraction which arose out of the same occurrence upon which the civil action is based, evidence of said plea or forfeiture as shown by the records of the criminal court shall be admissible. Where the records of the court in which such prosecution was had are silent or ambiguous as to whether or not such plea was made or forfeiture occurred the court hearing the civil case shall admit such evidence on the question of such plea or forfeiture as may be relevant, and the question of whether such plea was made or forfeiture suffered shall be a question for the court to determine.”

So basically, if you are in a car accident in Virginia and get a ticket because of that accident and you then prepay that ticket, plead guilty or plead no contest the other driver can use you plea as evidence of your guilty in a lawsuit against you. Pleading guilty, prepaying or pleading nolo contender can greatly increase your chances of being sued in many situations.

In Virginia, pleading no contest is the same as pleading guilty.

Luke J. Nichols

The law firm of Nichols & Green pllc

(703) 383-9222

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Tips on Hiring a Virginia Traffic Attorney

Have Your Driving Record Ready to Give Your Attorney.

Your DMV record is often the most important factor in determining the likely punishment in most traffic cases. If you want a traffic attorney to tell you what the likely outcome of your cases is that attorney will most likely need to see your traffic record. Go online or go to the DMV and have a copy of your DMV record handy to show your attorney.

If you are a Virginia driver go here to get a copy of your DMV record:

If you want a copy of your Maryland MVA record go here:

Write Down Everything You can Remember About the Incident Before Talking to A Traffic Attorney

While you r memory is fresh write down everything you can remember about the incident. Where did it happen, which directions where you traveling, what was traffic like, what did the officer or other witnesses say to you, what did you say to them. Once you have a good record of the incident have it ready to send to your attorney prior to the free consultation. After interviewing thousands of drivers I have learned that your initial consultation will be much more productive and thorough if the driver sends us a write up before the consultation.

Create a Brief Biography about Yourself and Send it to the Traffic Attorney with the incident Summary.

In many traffic cases, your attorney will achieve their goals by convincing the prosecution that the driver is a good driver, and good person and that they deserve a brake. The more the traffic attorney knows about you the more effective their negotiations will be. Knowing more about you will also help your traffic attorney give you better advice. For example: a person who drives for a living or who has high insurance potential will need different advice than someone who does not.

In your bio, should include:

1)      What do you do for a living? (make it interesting, not just a resume)

2)      Do you drive for a living? (security clearance?)

3)      Who depends on you and your ability to drive? (children or elderly parents?)

4)      What humanitarian activities or service activities are you involved in?

5)      In school? What are you studying, where, what are your grades?

6)      Hobbies, interest, quirks (sometimes being interesting is better than being a saint)

Have your Summons Handy When Your Call A Traffic Attorney

The very first questions we ask a new client can be answered with the information found on your summons. For more information on how to read your summons click here.

If you lost your ticket, or you don’t have it handy, don’t let that worry you. A good traffic attorney can work around that.

What to Look for When Hiring A Traffic Attorney

1)      Do your traffic attorney have favorable online reviews (not just on their own website)

2)      Does your traffic attorney handle mostly traffic tickets and traffic crimes or do they practice many different areas of law?

3)      Does the traffic attorney offer free appeals to the Circuit Court or will they charge you extra if your case does not go well?

4)      Have you had a meaningful in depth legal discussion of your case prior to hiring? (Use your consultation to get a feel for their knowledge of traffic law and for their “bedside manner”)

5)      Did your traffic attorney return your call promptly and give you their full attention. (keep in mind that they will be in traffic court almost every morning so afternoons are the best time to reach a traffic attorney).


Luke J. Nichols

The law firm of Nichols & Green pllc

(703) 383-9222

Posted in Driving on Suspended License, DUI/DWI, Misc. Traffic Tickets, Reckless Driving, Speeding Tickets | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off