What to Do After a DC Reckless Driving Charge

Unlike a speeding ticket, a reckless driving charge carries criminal penalties that can include heavy fines and time in jail. Therefore, it is important to take these charges seriously. A lawyer can help you understand what to do after a DC reckless driving charge.

A dedicated reckless driving attorney can represent you throughout the legal process and help you make the decisions that are best for your case. They can help you work towards the best possible solution in your case.

How Is a Reckless Driving Charge Different From a Speeding Ticket?

When someone is pulled over by the police and allegedly was driving ten miles per hour over the speed limit, they would most likely not be arrested or charged with a crime. More likely, they are given a notice of a traffic infraction known as a speeding ticket. The person has the option of paying the ticket and incurring the civil penalties such as points on their driving record, or they may challenge the ticket at an administrative hearing before the DC DMV.

A person with a speeding ticket does not go before a judge in court. If someone challenges a speeding ticket because they believe they did not commit the offense or they want to argue for reduced points, they can request a hearing before an examiner at the DC DMV who is typically not a judge. At a moving violation hearing at the DC DMV, the individual has the option of having an attorney present or appearing on their behalf.

The hearing examiner hears testimony from the police officer and any testimony the individual wants to provide. The hearing examiner then decides whether there is enough evidence to uphold the ticket and imposes any fines or penalties. Regardless of the evidence, the person never faces a criminal conviction on their record as a result of a traffic infraction. They only face civil penalties and potentially points on their driving record.

By contrast, reckless driving is a criminal charge for which someone can face up to 90 days in jail and fines up to $500. A person convicted of aggravated reckless driving can face up to 180 days of jail and fines up to $1,000. A reckless driving charge does not go to the DC DMV. It also goes to a criminal court judge in DC’s Superior Court and is prosecuted by an attorney with the District of Columbia Attorney General’s office.

The Legal Process in DC

When someone is arrested on charges of reckless driving, assuming they have no pending cases and no outstanding warrants for their arrest in other matters, they are generally released directly from the police station with a citation to appear in court at a later date. Washington, DC has no bail or bond that one must pay to be released from the police station. Most people are released on their own personal promise to appear in court for their arraignment. If someone does not appear for their arraignment, a judge will issue a warrant for their arrest.

It is important for a person to contact an attorney when they are arrested on reckless driving charges to make sure they understand their obligations, when they need to appear in court, and their next steps. The first court date on a reckless driving charge is an arraignment where the person is notified of the charges against them. They are not required to answer or challenge the charges on the first court date. The attorney may enter a not guilty plea which is standard practice in a reckless driving charge and schedule a second court date called a status hearing.

Between the first and second court date, the lawyer obtains the evidence from the prosecutors that they can use in the case to examine it and discuss the evidence with their client. Their lawyer talks with the prosecutor to see if a resolution might be reached. Alternatively, the lawyer may discuss with the client their right to proceed to trial and make the prosecutor prove them guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The lawyer discusses their rights, options, defenses, and any alternatives to trial that they may have to get the best result possible.

Reach Out to an Attorney After a DC Reckless Driving Charges

An attorney can guide you through fighting your DC reckless driving charges. An attorney can protect your rights from the beginning and advocate on your behalf. With their help, you may be able to work towards a more positive outcome. Learn more by calling today.