A Traffic Lawyer Wytheville VA Trusts Discusses Traffic Violations and Construction Zones
Virginia takes its traffic policing quite seriously, especially in and around the busy streets of Wytheville VA. Nowhere is this more evident than in the regulations surrounding construction zones, of which there are often many. Traffic violations in construction zones, especially for speeding, can be quite pricey and may exact a severe cost in terms of points on one’s driver’s license.
Not Just Dangerous to Workers
Despite the exacting safety precautions taken, injuries and fatalities do occur in construction zones, but only a small percentage of these fatalities are workers. Motorists make up the majority of the remainder, which may be a shock to some, but reckless driving does not cease for many, even in a work zone.
Most of the traffic violations that occur in work zones are speeding-related, and while speeding in a construction zone is classed as a petty offense, the consequences can still be expensive, especially if negligence is alleged.
The process for handling a construction-related traffic charge is not unlike that of handling any other, except that certain caveats and details also apply. For example, in order to qualify as a bona fide work zone, the area must have proper signage, which includes both the maximum speed limit permitted in the zone, as well as the minimum fine able to be assessed for speeding. If no such signage is present, it may be a defense to say so. Another detail that is often misstated or misinterpreted is that no workers need be present for a charge of speeding to be assessed. Many believe that if a work zone is uninhabited, no signage needs to be obeyed, and this is simply not accurate.
It is also worth noting that in many instances, charges of this nature are eligible for court supervision, meaning that no conviction will appear upon the defendant’s record if a probationary period is completed satisfactorily. However, it can be difficult to receive permission to be placed on this track, simply because prosecutors take such charges seriously, and generally dislike such a step unless it can be demonstrated that it is truly warranted – which is extremely difficult, given such a subjective standard. A competent traffic lawyer stands a likelier chance of arguing in favor of supervision, however, than a defendant attempting to argue for such on their own.
What Can I Do About an Arrest for Reckless Driving?
No one anticipates going about their day and ending up in handcuffs. Being placed into the back of a cop car may not only be embarrassing, but terrifying as the person wonders what the consequences are for the future. A reckless driving conviction can come along with steep repercussions, that can follow you for many years to come. Those who have been arrested, may have plenty of questions about what to do next. A traffic lawyer in Wytheville, Virginia can answer all of your questions. The following are some of the most common our clients have.
I was arrested for reckless driving, now what should I do?
Getting arrested can be an awful experience for anyone, whether they are guilty or not. It is often suggested that the person being arrested does not share more information that what is absolutely necessary. For example, an officer may need your name and other personal information to process your arrest. However, pleading your side of the story can actually hurt your case, not make it better. It may be best to simply remain quiet and wait until you have met with a Wytheville VA traffic lawyer for advice on what to do next.
What driving behavior may be deemed reckless?
There are certain driving actions that are viewed as reckless and can be punishable by law. What is considered reckless driving can vary based on where you live, so you may want to follow up with a traffic lawyer in Wytheville VA to be sure that you were not arrested for something that is not deemed reckless after all. Here are some examples of careless driving actions that may result in an arrest:
- Tailgating another car
- Racing on public roads
- Not using turn signals properly
- Speeding in excess of 20 MPH over speed limit (or over 85 MPH regardless of the speed limit)
- Driving while under the influence
- Driving while distracted
- Not yielding to another driver during their right of way
- Using the opposite lane on a two-lane road to pass a vehicle
- Trying to escape an officer
What consequences may I face now that I have been arrested?
What happens now is you will probably be provided a date and time to attend a court hearing, where a judge determines what consequences you will endure if found guilty of the crime. Many people consider hiring a Wytheville VA traffic lawyer for representation during this hearing, as it can feel overwhelming to try to defend yourself all alone. It also helps to have a legal professional who understands the judicial system to advocate on your behalf. Potential repercussions for a reckless driving conviction may entail:
- Having to pay fines/penalties of up to $2,500
- Driver’s license suspended
- Being placed on probation
- Serving jail time up to 1 year
- The driver now has a conviction on criminal record
- Reckless driving conviction staying on record for many years
Will my insurance rate increase because of the arrest?
If you are convicted of reckless driving, then your insurance rates may go up. Your insurer may eventually find out about the conviction and either raise your rates significantly, or consider you a driver that is too much of a risk to provide coverage for. You may want to contact your insurer and let them know the situation, so both you and your insurance company do not have any surprises.
Enlist an Experienced Traffic Lawyer
While traffic offenses may appear to be mere inconveniences, many carry significant fines and in rare cases, jail time, especially if the alleged conduct occurred in a construction zone. A knowledgeable traffic lawyer Wytheville VA drivers recommend can help to argue for an appropriate and fair outcome to such a case. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt are well versed in this area of Virginia law and are happy to put their experience to work for you. Contact our office today to set up an appointment to discuss how we can help defend you against these charges.
Cell Phone Use and Reckless Driving Charges
Every state in the U.S. except Montana has strict laws that prohibit driving while distracted. The most prevalent distractions occur when drivers talk or text on their cellphones. The penalties upon conviction for reckless driving vary from state to state and can be influenced by the circumstances of the case. It is possible to be charged with reckless driving in Virginia if you talk or text while driving and a law enforcement officer believes you “willfully or wantonly” placed others in harm’s way as a result of your choices. Reckless driving is a charge more serious than a standard traffic ticket, so it’s important to seek experienced legal defense from a Wytheville, VA traffic lawyer from The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt as soon as you’ve been charged with this offense. The sooner you act, the soon a Wytheville, VA traffic lawyer can begin advocating on your behalf.
Restrictions on Cell Phone Use While Driving
Because the use of cell phones distracts drivers while they should be focused on the road, their use is heavily restricted. Nearly every state bans drivers from writing, reading, sending, or receiving text messages while operating their vehicles. This usually includes emails and instant messaging as well. Your Wytheville, VA traffic lawyer can inform you about current laws that may also ban the use of mobile electronic devices to use the Internet in any way, take photos, or play games. The use of a cell phone for conversations may also be banned in your area. It’s important to understand that restrictions may apply in certain cities, but not necessarily across the state. If you were charged with reckless driving for the use of a cell phone in an area of the state that does not prohibit it, your lawyer may use that as a basis to get your charge dismissed or reduced. In addition, if you were using a hands-free method while operating your cell phone, your actions may have been permissible under the law.
Additional Restrictions on Cell Phone Use While Driving
You may have been charged with reckless driving in part because your actions fell under a special category that further restricts the use of a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle. In some states you may be charged with reckless driving if any of the following is true:
- You are under the legal age whether that is 18 or 21 years of age in your state.
- You only hold a learner’s permit or a provisional driver’s license.
- You were driving a school bus at the time you were using your cell phone.
- You were driving in a restricted zone such as on school grounds, at a school crossing walk, or in a construction zone.
Regardless of the specific circumstances of your case, a Wytheville, VA traffic lawyer can help. Take action today to better ensure that you have the strongest defense possible. We all get distracted from time to time. It’s important to have a strong advocate by your side so that a momentary lapse in judgment doesn’t lead to imprisonment.
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