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Reckless Driving Defenses

Many drivers make the mistake of assuming that "nothing can be done" about their Virginia Reckless driving case. Or they believe they should just "take their medicine". Others assume that they can simply go to court and testify that they were not driving recklessly and that the judge will drop the charges. Both types of assumptions are generally false.


Even if you are guilty and even if the police can prove it, you can attempt to negotiate a plea deal that avoids a reckless driving conviction or some of the punishments associated with reckless driving.

In order to take advantage of this opportunity to negotiate, it is essential to hire a reckless driving attorney. Some prosecutors and some jurisdictions will not allow unrepresented drivers the opportunity to negotiate before trial. Even in jurisdictions where citizens can talk to the prosecuting attorneys, our reckless driving attorneys will walk into negotiations knowing the judges and prosecuting attorneys personally and knowing which arguments matter to them.

Did the Officer Ticket You Correctly?

An officer is only allowed to ticket someone if:

  • the officer witnessed the reckless driving;
  • the officer tickets them at the scene of the accident;
  • the officer tickets them at the hospital; or
  • the officer got an arrest warrant.

If the officer did not meet at least one of these requirements then you may have a valid reckless driving defense in Virginia.

Technical Issues and Reckless Driving by Speed

All reckless by speed cases normally involve RADAR, LIDAR (laser) or pacing. Each speed measuring technique has its own strength and weaknesses. To learn more about the technical issues surround these speed measuring devices, then click here.

Speed Calibration

Officer's must regularly calibrate and test their RADAR, LIDAR, and police speedometers. The officer must bring proof of calibration to court and the court may require the proof to be presented in a very specific format. Because of the technical nature of these defenses, an experienced reckless driving attorney is essential.

Reckless Driving Accident Cases in Virginia Usually Require a Witness

Virginia reckless driving accident cases are some of the easiest reckless driving cases to defend. Typically the accidents do not happen in an officer's presence, so the prosecution is dependent on witnesses. Witness lie, they get confused, and they often do not hold up well on the stand.

An Accident Is Not Enough to Prove General Reckless Driving

The police must have evidence of dangerous driving behavior to prove general reckless driving. If no one witnessed your driving prior to an accident and if you did not confess, then you may have a valid reckless driving defense. An accident, even a horrible accident, is not enough evidence without proof of some driving behavior.

Squealing Tires or Skidding Tires Is Not Reckless Driving

Some officers like to write reckless driving tickets for people who squeal their tires or do "burn-outs" or screech their tires. Unless there is other driving behavior (such as fish tailing or smoking tires) then you may have a valid reckless driving defense.

Traffic Violations Are Not Automatically Reckless Driving

Just because a person breaks the law while driving does not mean they are reckless driving. Many officers write reckless driving tickets as their default ticket whenever they catch someone breaking the law on the road. Breaking traffic laws does not mean that you were reckless driving.

General Defenses to Reckless Driving

Because "reckless driving" can be such a subjective definition officers can easily write tickets for reckless driving for behavior that is not criminal. In these cases your reckless driving defense may revolve around case law, cross examination and argument to demonstrate why the officer's definition of reckless driving is incorrect.

Police Video Recordings

In many cases, police video can be used as a valid reckless driving defense. An experienced reckless driving attorney will be able to tell you when police video and audio recordings are available and will be able to get copies of those videos/recordings.