If you have been charged with Traffic Offense (excluding DUI) in Arlington County, here are few things you should know before going to court.
Arlington Prosecutors Will Negotiate with Pro Se Defendants!
In Arlington, the assigned traffic prosecutor will negotiate your reckless driving or other traffic related case with you. The prosecutor in Arlington will sit in a conference room located directly across the hall from Courtroom 3C. They will be more than willing to discuss your case with you and offer a proposed resolution to your Reckless Driving or other traffic related offenses. Before negotiating your case you should do the following: (1) SIGN OUT of the Courtroom so the judge does not call your case when you are talking to the prosecutor; and (2) talk to your officer and see if he or she will go with you to the speak with the prosecutor (**This is important because typically the prosecutor will not do anything with your case until they have spoken to the officer**)
Driving School is an Option in Arlington County
Unlike other jurisdictions, Arlington offers a Driving Behavior Management Program taught by Art Von Herbulis. Many times an offer by a prosecutor or a reduction by a judge will include a provision that requires entry into and successful completion of this program. This program is not your typical driver improvement course. Rather, it focuses on identifying and changing the behaviors that cause us to drive aggressively. In fact, the course is designed as an aggressive driving course specifically for at risk drivers as an alternative to incarceration. However, over the years, the prosecutors and Judges in Arlington have used it more and more to facilitate education prior to reducing serious traffic offenses. The class is three weeks in duration for two hours one night a week. This course is not a DMV approved Driver Improvement Clinic and does not qualify you to receive five good driver points.
Reckless Driving is a Criminal Charge, Six Point Offense, and stays on your DMV Record for 11 years
A conviction of reckless driving in Arlington County will be a criminal conviction and will result in you having a criminal record. If convicted, you are ineligible for an expungement. An Arlington County reckless driving conviction stays on your DMV record for 11 years and carries six (6) points. Judges have no control over points. Points in Virginia are assessed administratively by the DMV based on the conviction.
Bring a Lawyer to Court
In Arlington, like any other jurisdiction in Virginia, having counsel with you on the day of court is always beneficial. Lawyers know the court system and the appropriate way to negotiate your case to optimize a reduction or acquittal of a charge. Many times, if the offense is not serious, a lawyer can save you time, money, and a criminal conviction. For example, many people do not realize that in Arlington, a conviction of the no point offense of failure to pay full time and attention could be determined by some authorities to be a misdemeanor due to the fact that a conviction of this offense could result in a ten day jail sentence. In other jurisdictions, this offense is merely a traffic infraction. Avoiding this offense in Arlington is important.
If you can not afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you if you face the possibility of a jail sentence for your charge. Arlington is very firm imposing jail for high speed reckless driving cases.
Restricted Licenses Are Not Automatic If Your License Gets Suspended
In Arlington, a restricted license must be requested from the Court on a special form provided by the Court. However, just because you are prepared to request one, does not mean the judge will grant it. Restricted licenses are very difficult to get in Arlington when you license is suspended for anything other than a DUI.
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