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Old 09-03-2013, 01:32 PM   #1
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Any VA (and/or OH) lawyers out there?

Actually, lawyers from anywhere (or anyone else knowledgeable in the field of traffic law) are welcome to weigh-in on this one...

My kid and his wife headed to Virginia for a long weekend, visiting friends and hiking some mountain trails for a few days. Unfortunately, he got nailed by the infamous VA traffic law enforcement folks on the way back. I sort of knew about how assiduously the traffic laws (esp speeding) tend to be enforced there, I knew they were going there---but it never dawned on me to mention being careful in that state before they left. Anyway, after having been bumper to bumper in Labor Day returning-home traffic for an extended period, things finally opened up and, feeling suddenly freed, he briefly wound it out a bit. Got clocked doing 92 in a 70, which apparently in Virginia amounts to reckless driving and can, potentially, give rise to license revocation and even possible time in the slammer. Court appearance in such cases is apparently mandatory---never mind the fact that he lives in Ohio.

My (and his) questions are numerous. With the stakes this high, I told him that at least talking to (and quite possibly retaining) an attorney might be a good idea here. What's the best way to find a lawyer in another state, ideally one knowledgeable in traffic law? I'm sure it's tough getting a hold of whoever would actually be prosecuting the case, but is there generally any possibility of negotiating a case like this down via a telephone call? I told him that, as a first time offender (he's had maybe one prior speeding offense, which he pleaded down to next to nothing as I recall---and that was in Ohio) jail time seems highly unlikely; short of him bad-mouthing the judge (which is not gonna happen), generally speaking that's an accurate statement, right? If he has someone represent him at the hearing, is it always mandatory that the defendant himself be in court? For Ohio folks knowledgeable in the area, is there a reciprocity whereby if he loses his driving privileges in VA that might also happen in OH? (A simple stop and ticket---no accident, drugs/alcohol, etc were involved.)

He's a good kid who simply picked a bad time and place to let it roll. Other than at the track he rarely does stuff like this, and I'd like to help him out here if possible. Any advice (other than Slow Down in VA---and he's already figured that one out) would be appreciated.

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Old 09-03-2013, 02:00 PM   #2
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Sorry to hear this happened. The traffic pull overs are getting out of control.. It has nothing to do with safety,, just a huge money grab.
I can't help you out. Unfortunately your kid picked the wrong place to let loose. I saw a half dozen police out today just on a short trip into town.
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Old 09-03-2013, 02:05 PM   #3
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Try Pelican Parts Forum - Off topic discussions. Probably get more help there....
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Old 09-03-2013, 02:05 PM   #4
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Yeah, we drove down I-71S to Columbus (from the Akron area--about 2 hrs) on Saturday to go to the OSU football opening game. It was unbelievable---it seemed like every 3-5 miles there was somebody pulled over. Labor Day weekend is definitely NOT the time to be doing more than 5-10 over the posted limit.
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Old 09-03-2013, 09:15 PM   #5
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Couple of thoughts...

If your son does hire a lawyer, he should hire one who practices before the court where your son must appear. Often the lawyer can appear on your son's behalf allowing your son to avoid traveling. The lawyer will know if this is possible.

Visit the Virgina state bar website. It may have lawyer referrals there by specialty area. If it doesn't, you might call the Bar directly and ask for advice. If you do get some referrals, check their Martindale-Hubbard ratings. It will give you a sense for their skill sets.

There's also a website called Just Answer Traffic Law. You can describe the circumstances and ask for some advice on what defenses are available to the citation. It costs about $35 bucks to get a lawyer to provide some guidance. I recently used this for a minor traffic accident to reduce my liability. The lawyer / expert may also suggest how to get the charge reduced

Hopefully a forum member in VA will have some recommendations. It would be helpful to mention the town where the court is so a really local forum member might suggest a lawyer in that town.

My sense is that it's best for a lawyer talk to the prosecutor about pleading to a lesser offense.

No idea whether the local court can compel Ohio to revoke your son's license or add points to it. Again, the local lawyer should know this.

Last edited by thom4782; 09-03-2013 at 09:18 PM.
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Old 09-04-2013, 12:14 AM   #6
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Unless the world has gone completely crazy, I wouldn't stress over this. If really a first offence I believe who ever makes a judgment on this case will let the kid go with a speeding fine, and a warning. It's just a money thing really.

tell him to go to court, dress up accordingly, standup like a man, be polite and this is exactly what will happen.

Sorry to hear about your kid, just wrong place wrong time. Doesn't make him a bad kid at all (and judges knows this, I wouldn't worry)
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Old 09-04-2013, 06:16 AM   #7
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VA traffic laws suck ass. if you're going over 20, it's automatic reckless driving. you would probably be able to get it reduced to improper driving, and get slapped with some hefty court costs and a probation period in the state (where you'll have to keep your nose clean).

where was the ticket / issuing authority? was it a state trooper or a local officer?

i have dealt with two lawyers in VA - northern. va give kevin wilson a call:
Virginia Drunk Driving Lawyer | Manassas Reckless Driving Attorney | The Wilson Law Firm 703-361-6100

the other is in virginia beach, va - tim quick. Virginia Beach Criminal Attorney | Juvenile Defense Attorney | Norfolk, VA 757-453-7674

usually tend to suggest to others who get pulled over to talk with the DA directly and try to get a reduced charge or deferred adjudication (something i've had pretty good luck with), but when it comes to VA i'd suggest getting a lawyer.

in general, i'd try to get one that lives in/near the jurisdiction where the ticket was issued, as they tend to know the prosecutors a little more and deal with them a lot more. DAs will tend to settle / reduce charges if they can to avoid a lot of time in court.
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Old 09-04-2013, 06:19 AM   #8
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we were going south on 95 thursday evening and there was a nice little speed trap set up. all 5 state troopers had picked off someone and were writing tickets within a mile-long stretch.

the worse part was it was right after a huge clog so they knew people were going to be pushing it when it thinned out some.
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Old 09-04-2013, 06:38 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Frodo View Post
Actually, lawyers from anywhere (or anyone else knowledgeable in the field of traffic law) are welcome to weigh-in on this one...

My kid and his wife headed to Virginia for a long weekend, visiting friends and hiking some mountain trails for a few days. Unfortunately, he got nailed by the infamous VA traffic law enforcement folks on the way back. I sort of knew about how assiduously the traffic laws (esp speeding) tend to be enforced there, I knew they were going there---but it never dawned on me to mention being careful in that state before they left. Anyway, after having been bumper to bumper in Labor Day returning-home traffic for an extended period, things finally opened up and, feeling suddenly freed, he briefly wound it out a bit. Got clocked doing 92 in a 70, which apparently in Virginia amounts to reckless driving and can, potentially, give rise to license revocation and even possible time in the slammer. Court appearance in such cases is apparently mandatory---never mind the fact that he lives in Ohio.

My (and his) questions are numerous. With the stakes this high, I told him that at least talking to (and quite possibly retaining) an attorney might be a good idea here. What's the best way to find a lawyer in another state, ideally one knowledgeable in traffic law? I'm sure it's tough getting a hold of whoever would actually be prosecuting the case, but is there generally any possibility of negotiating a case like this down via a telephone call? I told him that, as a first time offender (he's had maybe one prior speeding offense, which he pleaded down to next to nothing as I recall---and that was in Ohio) jail time seems highly unlikely; short of him bad-mouthing the judge (which is not gonna happen), generally speaking that's an accurate statement, right? If he has someone represent him at the hearing, is it always mandatory that the defendant himself be in court? For Ohio folks knowledgeable in the area, is there a reciprocity whereby if he loses his driving privileges in VA that might also happen in OH? (A simple stop and ticket---no accident, drugs/alcohol, etc were involved.)

He's a good kid who simply picked a bad time and place to let it roll. Other than at the track he rarely does stuff like this, and I'd like to help him out here if possible. Any advice (other than Slow Down in VA---and he's already figured that one out) would be appreciated.
VA is very tough on speeders; a lot will depend upon how he was clocked, if it was by radar, it is going to be difficult to fight. You need to get him a competent lawyer immediately.
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Old 09-04-2013, 06:47 AM   #10
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we were going south on 95 thursday evening and there was a nice little speed trap set up. all 5 state troopers had picked off someone and were writing tickets within a mile-long stretch.

the worse part was it was right after a huge clog so they knew people were going to be pushing it when it thinned out some.
MD most insidious trick of late has been the mobile speed cameras, which they move around and hide well. Fortunately, two things are on your side for this one: The cameras are "the dog doesn't need the license, but the state needs the money" item, so the fines are low (around $40 for up to 20 MPH over) and there are no points. Second, many GPS systems now have software that is updated weekly with known locations for both speed and red light cameras, so you get a warning before you enter an area that has them. The worst place in the world currently for these ticket robots is DC, in many areas there are red light cameras at every intersection, and a speed camera in between each read light camera. Recently, I got detoured off I95 due to an accident and truck fire near DC, and my GPS stayed in constant camera alert for more than 20 min., right up until we got back on I95, and then we still hit the occasional speed camera there as well.
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Old 09-04-2013, 06:49 AM   #11
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the worse part was it was right after a huge clog so they knew people were going to be pushing it when it thinned out some.
Bloody hell.... ^ that is a bit savage on the population.

Hard to believe; +20 is considered reckless driving (criminal code I'd assume?), and that prosecutions are in fact happening regularly. Would +20 be considered average for let's say "passing" or "over taking"? Rude laws if you ask me. I have sympathy for those owning a sport or supercar there :/

Looking at this on the bright side, VA must have some of the best emergency services in the country
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Old 09-04-2013, 07:09 AM   #12
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Lesson learned here is in VA ...Don't drive.

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Old 09-04-2013, 07:13 AM   #13
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Frodo,

City-Data forum is a good place to get information. Check out this link. It's a long thread but you may find some good advice.

Official Reckless Driving Thread (Harrisonburg, Leesburg: lawyer, house, costs) - City-Data Forum
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Old 09-04-2013, 07:14 AM   #14
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Add in that VA and DC are the only east coast states that continue to ban radar and laser detectors, and where you can get a ticket for just possessing one...........
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Old 09-04-2013, 07:31 AM   #15
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German System

I prefer the German system. If you get stopped you pay the fine on the spot and you get no points on your license, and no increase in your insurance rates. If you're not carrying the cash you can pay the ticket later at the post office. If you get snapped by a camera speed trap you get a letter in the mail (complete with a picture of your smiling face) and you can go to the post office to pay the fine -- again no points, no insurance increase.
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Old 09-04-2013, 07:33 AM   #16
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Yeah, ditto on a couple of things. First off, VA nails those who speed on the interstates. It's particularly bad on North 95, just after crossing from North Carolina. They like to get 2-3 cops sitting in consecutive spots. You'll pass the first victim, thinking it's safe, and wham-o!
Second, get in touch with an experienced DUI/Reckless Driving lawyer located in the county of your offense. Good Ol' Boys Network is alive and well here. See if it can be bumped down to improper driving or simply speeding but not Reckless.
FWIW, even if the speed limit is 70, I believe anything over 81 is considered reckless driving.
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Old 09-04-2013, 08:03 AM   #17
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FWIW, even if the speed limit is 70, I believe anything over 81 is considered reckless driving.
true, i forgot about that one.

not to mention failing to signal, having an obstruction of the rear or side view mirrors, passing on a crest, driving with improperly adjusted brakes (?)...

luckily i have not had the privilege of being pulled over for speeding in VA. i can't imagine it would be a fun experience.

i still use my radar detector (yes, they are illegal) which can be confiscated.
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Old 09-04-2013, 11:29 AM   #18
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I travel to SC on a regular basis, so I have to tread the dreaded "DC to Richmond" nest of vipers that the VA police put out. One night, I watched a VA State Police cruiser slowly pull up alongside every out of state plate car on I95 while watching one of these mounted on top of his dash:



This is a Spectre Radar Detector Detector (RDD). Eventually, as he pulled up on a car up ahead of mine, the row of LED's lit up, as did his roof lights a moment later. Another radar detector $100 ticket issued. You would think they would have something more important to do.
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Old 09-04-2013, 04:06 PM   #19
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Sorry to hear this happened. The traffic pull overs are getting out of control.. It has nothing to do with safety,, just a huge money grab.
Yeah, no kiddin'. I've had that point driven home time after time by an organization called the National Motorists Association. Familiar with them? I'm on their email mailing list and regularly get some pretty interesting articles and viewpoints. Check out: National Motorists Association Website


BTW, the ticket was written on I-95 a few miles south of Fredericksburg. It was close to a town named Spotsylvania, which is where the hearing is scheduled to take place. I've known for years about that interstate being a favorite for VA speed traps. Via a internet search he found and got a hold of a lawyer who apparently does a lot of this kind of work. The NMA that I referred to above lists attorneys that specialize in such cases. The website they have for that particular area (Spotsylvania Traffic Attorneys | Virginia Traffic Ticket Lawyers) lists 3 recommendations: 1) Yeargan Law Office; 2) Miller - Cerasuolo; and, 3) Andrew Flusche. The kid has actually made contact with one of them, and seems favorably impressed. I don't really want to get into rating specific lawyers right here in the thread (especially if there's any bad reviews! They ARE lawyers after all!), but if anyone wants to pm me any opinions or other insight on any of the three, feel free. Of course, if you have favorable things to say about any of them, I'm sure they'd not mind that showing up in the thread itself.


Quote:
Originally Posted by tonycarreon View Post
we were going south on 95 thursday evening and there was a nice little speed trap set up. all 5 state troopers had picked off someone and were writing tickets within a mile-long stretch.

the worse part was it was right after a huge clog so they knew people were going to be pushing it when it thinned out some.
That's the EXACT scenario the kid fell into, except it was Monday not Thursday.
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Old 09-04-2013, 06:57 PM   #20
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A question off subject but really in the same topic. How much leway do they allow. I go through there 6 time a year both ways. I've been passed dozens of State Police trap. In PA you generaly get up to 10 over on the highway and 5 over in local zones. I've toned that down in my travels in MD, WVA and VA to 5 over no more. A lot of 81 is 70 so I don't realy push that.

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