There are very few accident scenarios in which the Prince William County police choose not to charge the driver with reckless driving. Police know that many reckless driving charges get reduced down to non-criminal infractions through the court process, so they are more inclined to charge reckless upfront and then let the lawyers and judges figure everything out. Only when an accident is perceived to be a minor fender-bender type of situation with minimal property damage and no significant reported injuries will police decide against a charge of reckless driving.
A reckless driving by accident charge carries significant penalties and repercussions. Call a Prince William County reckless driving by accident lawyer if you are facing charges. A dedicated reckless driving attorney could fight for you.
Reckless driving accident cases can become serious very quickly, depending on the magnitude of the property damage and personal injury caused. At the same time, the prosecution’s evidence becomes more cumbersome to present because they must rely on non-officer civilian witnesses to come to court and testify about how the accident unfolded in a way that proves criminal fault by the accused. If these witnesses are not present for court, negotiations become much more favorable for the accused. A person could be facing felony charges if their reckless driving causes a catastrophic injury or a death.
Personal injury stemming from automobile accidents is always an area of lawsuits that will exist independently from criminal prosecutions for reckless driving. As such, a person could face civil liability instead of, or in addition to, the punishments imposed for a reckless driving conviction.
The burden of proof, and the suing party, are both different in civil cases than in criminal cases. As such, a person can still be sued and held liable in a civil case for an auto accident that formed the basis of a separate reckless driving misdemeanor charge for which the person was acquitted or dismissed.
Evidence of a person admitting to or not contesting guilt of a reckless driving charge can be used against a person in a future civil case based on the same set of facts that formed the basis of the prior criminal case. This is one reason why it is particularly crucial to consider negotiating around or defending against a reckless driving charge when there is a considerable chance that the alleged victims will separately sue for financial compensation. For more information, consult with a reckless driving by accident lawyer in Prince William County.
There is no universal, cookie-cutter type of evidence needed to prove the recklessness of a driver involved in an accident. Courts have become accustomed to convicted people of reckless driving on very slight accident evidence, and the recklessness element of reckless driving only technically requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused was driving in a way that “recklessly endangers the life, limb, or property of any person,” which can include the driver themselves. The mental state of recklessness means a state of indifference or disregard for the likely consequences of one’s own actions, even though not in relation to harming a particular person or piece of property on the road.
Reckless driving accident cases are both more complicated and more serious than speeding-based cases. Depending on the result of the case, an accused may be vulnerable to a corresponding civil suit for negligence that could carry severe financial consequences that far outweigh the penalties of the criminal case. Regardless, prosecutors and judges will be more moved by real property and personal injury caused to victim-witnesses who are present and testifying in court. There is also less incentive to offer plea deals in these cases that accomplish avoiding the reckless driving charge in some way. An experienced reckless driving lawyer could manage and predict the heightened risk aspect of these kinds of cases for an accused based on knowledge of how particular prosecutors and judges will react to the unique factual circumstances before them based on observing and litigating similar cases. And as with any kind of reckless driving charge, it is always essential to avoid the default penalties of a permanent new misdemeanor conviction, six demerit points with the Virginia DMV, and a host of other inconvenient and costly punishments. Call a Prince William County reckless driving by accident lawyer today if you are facing charges.