What Does the Prosecution Need to Prove in a Reckless Driving Case?

An Arlington reckless driving lawyer discusses what needs to be proven in order for someone to be convicted of reckless driving. To learn more call and schedule a free consultation today.

It depends on what kind of reckless driving charge you’re faced with. There are many different ways reckless driving can be charged, and each requires its own methods of proof.

One is the kind of Reckless Driving offense often charged is known as “general reckless” where your driving behavior is so bad that you’re endangering the property, life or limb of another person on the road.

Typically in those cases, the prosecution will attempt to prove its case through eyewitness testimony. That usually takes the form of either the arresting officer or other motorists on the road.  They will also use statements that the driver has made against their interest and if they have any video from a dashboard camera or other surveillance video they will use that too.

Sometimes Reckless Driving is charged based upon someone’s speed alone.  So, if you are charged with Reckless Driving because you were doing 80 miles per hour or above or going 20 miles per hour or more above the speed limit, the prosecution will attempt to prove that through several methods. First of all most police officers have training in the visual estimation of speed, and that is admissible at trial. Additionally, the police officer will need to testify about which device he or she used to measure your speed—either radar, lidar, or by pace. They will introduce evidence of the calibration of these devices to show that they were working properly.

Introduction of the calibration records for a  speedometer, lidar unit or radar is provided for in the Virginia Code and it makes it very easy to get that evidence in. So that’s how they prove their case in a Reckless by Speed case.

Evidence Prosecutors and Officers Present in Court

The type of eyewitness evidence that is presented by the Commonwealth is typically from the police officer who issued the summons in combination with other witnesses on the road.  If you are charged with Reckless Driving due to driving behavior that resulted in an accident the people that were involved in the accident will almost certainly testify. If the Commonwealth has video surveillance-like a dash cam, or a highway camera, they will also use that. Any radar or laser device that tracked your speed will be used and if your speed was determined by the police officer pacing your vehicle, the speedometer calibration will be admitted into evidence. All calibrations of speed determination devices are easily admissible in Virginia due to the rules of evidence.

Any other possible evidence that you can think of that will prove your guilt, the prosecution will use. That includes any statements you made to the police about why you’re speeding or why you were driving the manner you were and even your demeanor and cooperation or lack of cooperation with police— all that will be evidence at trial if it helps the prosecution.

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