Fairfax Reckless Driving Advocate | Law Office of Michael A. Pignone (2023)

Fairfax reckless driving attorney

Fairfax Reckless Driving Advocate | Law Office of Michael A. Pignone (1)

When most people think of a speeding ticket, they assume that a substantial fine is the worst consequence they could face. In Virginia, however, this does not apply to reckless driving.

Reckless driving in Virginia is a criminal offense. A reckless driving conviction means you have a misdemeanor on your record. It could also mean losing your license, jail time, and fines. If you are subpoenaed by the police for reckless driving, it is important that you consult with a Fairfax reckless driving attorney before accepting any type of solution.

In the law offices of Michael A. Pignone, ourVirginia criminal defense attorneyhave extensive experience in helping drivers like you keep their licenses. We handle both administrative and criminal cases of traffic violations. Our caring and compassionate Fairfax reckless driving attorney can clearly explain all your options and fight for your rights. We are a criminal defense firm with a track record of successfully contesting tickets and winning favorable lawsuits for our clients.


Most people understand the concept of reckless driving, but the offense of reckless driving is a precise legal term.Virginia lawstates that "regardless of the speed limits permitted by law, any person who drives a vehicle recklessly on a freeway or at a speed or in a manner endangering the life, limb or property of any person is guilty of reckless driving."

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What does reckless driving mean?

A reckless fare charge can raise many questions:

  • What does that mean?
  • How fast do you have to drive to get a reckless driving summons?
  • What other traffic violations can result in a reckless driving subpoena?

However, as you can see above, Virginia's reckless driving law is very vague. Therefore, reckless driving can encompass many different things and other traffic offenses.

However, the most common reasons police arrest drivers for reckless driving are listed below.

Defective brakes

A Virginia police officer can arrest you for reckless driving if your vehicle has done sodefective or insufficient brakes.

Wrong pass

If you overtake a vehicle on a dual carriageway and acurve or hillIf your view of oncoming traffic is blocked, a court can find you guilty of reckless driving. Likewise, it is reckless driving when youovertaking two vehicles at the same timeor when you drivetwo side by sidein one lane with only one vehicle. It is also reckless driving to overtake another vehiclestopped at a level crossing.

obstructed view

A court can find you guilty of reckless driving if there is a person or object in the front seat of your vehicleblock your viewthe front or side window.


Speeding is a traffic offense that adds points to your tally but doesn't put you at risk of jail time or a criminal conviction. However, if you unreasonably exceed the speed limit by driving too fast for the road conditions –regardless of the speed limit– An officer may charge you with reckless driving.

Also, if you drive more than 20 miles per hour over the speed limit orover 85 miles per hour on any public road, officers can choose to charge you with reckless driving instead of speeding.

Don't stop for a school bus

If a school bus is stopped on a freeway, private road, or school parking lot to drop off or pick up children, you must remain stopped until the bus is "put in motion." If you take off, spin around on the bus, or perform any other dangerous maneuver while the bus is stopping, a court can find you guilty of reckless driving.

It's important to note that this law is not limited to school buses. The law includes all buses used for school children, the elderly, or the mentally or physically disabled.

People often close when children are involved. As such, some find this section of the reckless driving act the most egregious. However, the legislature provides for criminal defense options.

For example, the bus must be appropriately marked as a school busstatute. You also don't have to stop if the road is a divided highway or if there is a physical barrier separating the bus from your vehicle. A reckless driving advocate can explain other possible defenses.


Participating in street racing is sure to draw the attention of the police who may lead you to charges of reckless driving. The government doesn't have to prove that you actually raced, only that you are putting others at serious risk.

Driving irregularly

Frequently changing lanes, knocking out other drivers and interferingaggressive driving behaviorcan also be considered reckless driving.

It's important to understand that judges and prosecutors have wide discretion regarding reckless driving charges.

Elements of reckless driving in Virginia

The prosecution always has the burden of proving your guilt in court beyond a reasonable doubt. In Virginia, the Commonwealth must prove beyond a reasonable doubt two elements of reckless driving. First, the prosecutor must prove that you drove a vehicle on a highway. Second, prosecutors must show that you were driving in a manner that endangered someone else's life, limb or property.

Proving that you were traveling on a freeway is not that difficult for prosecutors. (Though you can beat your case if they don't prove this element beyond a reasonable doubt.) There may be a rare instance where police charge someone with reckless driving on a private road rather than a freeway. However, in most cases, the prosecutor will focus on the allegations of how you drove rather than where you drove.

Virginia courts have ruled that the essence of reckless driving is the manner in which the person drove under certain circumstances. For example, driving 50 mph on I-95 during rush hour might be dangerously slow — but also dangerously fast during a heavy rainstorm with high winds.

As reckless driving is proven

Consider the example above again. A person driving at 80 km/h on a motorway could be accused of driving dangerously slowly, and another driving at the same speed during a rainstorm could be accused of driving dangerously fast. The difference between these two events is the mindset of the person driving. Courts name a person's mindset or intentionmen rea.Virginia courts have said that themen reaA requirement for reckless driving is criminal recklessness as opposed to the negligence standard used in civil courts.

Therefore, in order to be convicted of the reckless driving offense, the driver must have acted more than just negligently - meaning they may not have been aware of the dangerous nature of their behavior. Instead, the prosecutor must demonstrate that a criminal suspect knew, or should have known, that his behavior was dangerous to others, but chose to act dangerously despite the potential harm it could cause.

Police and prosecutors rarely know what goes on in a person's mind when committing a crime. Most of the time the police have to prove itmen reaRequest with circumstantial evidence. However, sometimes the reconstruction of the accident helps in determining the crime.

Technology in reckless driving investigations

Police officers with special training in car accident reconstruction analyze the various characteristics of a car accident to find out how and why the accident happened. Using scientific formulas, investigators can understand the following:

  • the speed of the vehicles before and after the accident,
  • your driving direction,
  • Whether the vehicles braked
  • whether the vehicles were accelerating at the time of impact and
  • Whether the vehicles were in good condition at the time of the accident.

The accident reconstruction officer takes into account environmental factors such as weather, road conditions, traffic volume and time of day.

Technology also plays an important role in accident reconstruction. Most newer model cars have a data event recorder, which people sometimes refer to as the "black box" for cars. Data recorders tell investigators whether the driver braked before the accident, the speed of the vehicle, and other information as well. Officers will look for surveillance cameras at the scene of the accident to see if a camera has captured relevant information.

Accident reconstructionists also use classic investigation methods. You will speak to witnesses and take photos of vehicles, roadway, traffic signs, lane markings and other relevant evidence.

You should keep in mind that you will never have to speak to a police officer who wants to question you about your role in the accident. If you feel pressured to talk by them, call our Fairfax reckless driving attorney immediately for help getting the police off your back.

What are the penalties for reckless driving?

Reckless driving charges are serious. Reckless driving in Virginia is a class one misdemeanor. Therefore, a first-time conviction carries up to a year in prison and a $2,500 fine.

However, reckless driving is a class six felony if your reckless driving caused the death of another person and you were driving without a license. AClass six crimescarries up to five years in prison and a $2,500 fine.

While these penalties are severe, an experienced Fairfax reckless driving attorney can help you avoid the most serious consequences.

At the law firm of Michael A. Pignone, we've had success getting prosecutors to drop the charges, agree to a plea for a lesser charge, and even defeat reckless driving subpoenas in court.

Are you losing your driver's license for reckless driving?

Yes. Unfortunately, if a court convicts you of reckless driving, you will lose your driver's license for at least ten days. However, the court can order a driver's license suspension for up to six months. The court may also require you to complete an alcohol safety program if there is reason to believe alcohol was involved. In addition, your insurance premiums can increase dramatically.

an experienced onecriminal defense attorneycan help you beat the charges and keep your driver's license.

Drivers out of state

Being so close to Washington, D.C. is located, people from all over the country visit the Fairfax area. If you live in another state and the Virginia Police Department charges you with reckless driving, you need a Fairfax reckless driving attorney. You might feel like you can forget about the fees because you live somewhere else. Ignoring the charges can hurt you no matter where you live. Virginia law allows judges to issue arrest warrants for people who refuse to appear in court. The police can arrest you if you have a warrant. Additionally, your home state could suspend your license because you have a warrant from another state.

As you can see, ignoring the charges only makes things worse. Contacting the law firm Michael Pignone for advice is the best step you can take. Our office helps many out-of-state visitors each year successfully fight their reckless driving penalties. We will work closely with you to ensure you receive the best defense possible from our Fairfax reckless driving attorney.

Should I see an attorney if I am charged with reckless driving?

Reckless driving appears to be a minor traffic violation. However, reckless driving is a serious offense. If you were recently subpoenaed for reckless driving, you may not have the option to pay a fine to close the case. And even if you do, it may not be the best thing for your future. The legal fees for reckless driving will pale in comparison to the fines, penalties and possible jail time you face if you are convicted.

TheLaw Office of Michael A. Pignonehave been helping good people get out of bad situations for over 25 years. We can help you understand all of your options so you can make an informed decision on the best and most beneficial course of action.

Our experienced attorney also handles other types of criminal defense cases, including:

  • DUI Defense
  • traffic violations
  • drug crime
  • Hit and Run Defense

If you decide to fight, we'll take the helm. We have many years of experience in dealing with criminal and administrative offenses in road traffic. And you can be assured that we will aggressively advocate for you every step of the way.

Call us today to learn more and schedule a free consultation with a Fairfax reckless driving attorney. You can reach us or contact us online as wellContact form.

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