According to the Washington Post Local section, a gentleman by the name of Tom Selden encountered a situation where he was caught doing 84 on a 70-mph zone on Interstate 295 southeast of Richmond. He admits he was speeding; he never experienced any problems on the road before. He has a clean record with no tickets, no accidents, and no points. He didn’t think anything would be as serious until he learned that his driver’s license would be revoked. Selden was charged with Reckless Driving and the Department of Motor Vehicles informed him that he would be without a license to drive for at least six months.
The problem lies with the fact that Mr. Selden had a D.C. driver’s license. Under Virginia law, Reckless Driving is anything 20 or more miles over the speed limit or anything over 80 miles per hour. Mr. Selden was ticketed for going 84 in a 70 mile per hour zone. He understandably thought it wasn’t a big deal and he simply paid the $230 fine.
The problem was the way his home residence, D.C., interpreted it. In the District Reckless Driving has a much harsher definition, and harsher penalties. In Virginia Reckless Driving is a six point violation. However, when D.C. learned of the conviction it interpreted it under the applicable D.C. law. That meant Mr. Selden would get 12 points on his license. D.C. has a 12 point scale and the conviction meant an automatic license suspension for Mr. Selden.
The Post found a number of similarly situated individuals. All suffered the same rate as Mr. Selden. Some have appealed to the D.C. DMV. All appeals have been denied.
While legislators are working to change this problem, it does serve to illustrate an underlying truth. It is always best to at least talk to a lawyer before going to court. A five minute conversation could have saved Mr. Selden a lot of headache and a 6 month license loss.
At the Law Office of Faraji Rosenthall we offer free consultations. Anyone who has a pending Virginia Reckless Driving charge should take advantage of this free service. Sometimes a ticket is so small it doesn’t make sense to hire us. Other times a case may be much more serious than a person originally thought. Many times it’s somewhere in the middle. Regardless, by taking a few minutes to discuss your case you will get an honest assessment of your case and learn all the options available to you.