If you have been charged with reckless driving in Virginia, you have not been issued a traffic citation, and you cannot just pay a fine and be done with it. You are being charged with a misdemeanor offense, and you face serious penalties that include a possible jail sentence, fine, and driver’s license suspension. In addition, you will be required to appear at least one court hearing to resolve your criminal case.
What Hearings Could You Have to Attend If You Have Been Charged With Reckless Driving?
The ticket that you were issued when you were charged with reckless driving will have the date and time of your next court hearing on it. Depending on the court, your case may be scheduled for one or two hearings. If you fail to attend scheduled hearings, the judge could issue a bench warrant for your arrest. Here are the typical court hearings in reckless driving cases:
In some counties, the court will schedule a first appearance hearing before a trial date in a reckless driving case. It can be confusing to know from reading a ticket whether the hearing is a first appearance or trial date. Generally, a hearing date set within a few weeks is a first appearance and one scheduled a month or longer out would be a trial date. At a first appearance, the judge will advise you of your right to an attorney and would let you know if you qualify for a court-appointed lawyer if you request that one be appointed. Your trial date would also be set. In some cases, an attorney may be able to attend the first appearance on your behalf or get it waived so that you do not have to miss work to attend it.
Trials in reckless driving cases are held in General District Court and are bench trials, which means that they are heard by the judge and not a jury. At the hearing, you will enter one of these pleas:
- Not guilty
- No contest
Depending on the court, your lawyer may be able to attend this hearing for you and enter your plea. At your trial, the judge would hear testimony and review any other evidence from both the prosecutor and your attorney. He would then make a decision on your innocence or guilt and impose a sentence if you are found guilty.
Have you been charged with reckless driving in Norfolk? Our experienced reckless driving attorneys can explain what hearings you will need to attend and help you build a strong defense to achieve the best possible outcome in your case. Call our office to schedule a free consultation with a member of our legal team today.