When you're facing serious charges and have a lot on the line, you can never ask too many questions. Darwyn is always happy to answer any questions you may have, but these are some of the questions he hears the most.
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I honestly didn’t see the cop trying to pull me over. Is this an acceptable defense against an eluding charge?
When a driver is accused of eluding the police, it often seems like all hope is lost. After all, it’s his word against the officer’s. Eluding the police is also a serious charge with severe penalties. If convicted, motorists can face license suspension, hefty fines, and even time behind bars.
Those who elude police while driving can be charged with a class two misdemeanor or a class four or six felony, depending on the circumstances of the incident. However, the prosecution has to prove that the driver was in fact eluding the police, and must present certain evidence in order to get a conviction.
The Proof Needed for an Eluding the Police Conviction
Your attorney may be able to offer a defense for your charge if he is able to show that the prosecution doesn’t have evidence against you. The prosecution will need show that:
- You willfully fled or attempted to elude the police officer.
- You had a specific intent to evade the officer.
- The police car exhibited at least one red light visible from the front and sounded the siren when in pursuit of you.
- You saw the police officer or should have seen the officer.
- The officer was in uniform.
Possible Defenses Against an Eluding the Police Charge
You may be found not guilty of the offense if your attorney can prove that:
- The patrol car lacked a red lamp, siren, logos, insignia, or other characteristics that distinguish it from a civilian vehicle. Having just a red light and siren is not sufficient.
- You were not intentionally trying to evade the officer. If you were distracted by talking on your phone or to a passenger, or if you were extremely intoxicated, your attorney may be able to prove you lacked the specific intent required to make a conviction.
- You were too afraid to pull over. If you were in an unsafe area, you may have felt it was too dangerous to stop, especially if the police car was unmarked and you weren’t sure if it actually was an officer attempting to pull you over.
Let Us Help You
The Easley Law Firm has helped many motorists in the Fairfax area with their cases and wants to do the same for you. Contact us today to learn more.
What happens when an undocumented immigrant is caught driving without a license?
The state of Virginia requires motorists to provide proof of United States citizenship or legal residence in order to obtain a drivers’ license or identification card. The Commonwealth is like most states in the country that demand such proof before it will issues a license. In fact, only New Mexico and Washington award licenses without Social Security numbers or proof of legal presence.
However, this doesn’t stop many unlicensed drivers from getting behind the wheel and driving. Along with being unlawful, the act is also dangerous, as many of these motorists aren’t aware of the state’s driving laws, didn’t take the proper tests needed in order to drive, and don’t understand English—making it hard to read road signs.
Penalties for Undocumented Immigrants Driving Without Licenses
An undocumented immigrant found driving down Route 66, Interstate 495, or any road in the Fairfax area could be subject to:
- Fines. The first time you are found driving without a license, you face a $1,000 fine. If caught again, the fee is $2,500.
- Jail time. Those who are charged with a first offense can spend up to six months in jail and 12 months for subsequent offenses.
- License suspension. Those found guilty can have their licenses suspended for 90 days.
- Demerit points. Driving without a license also puts three demerit points on your license and will stay on your DMV record for three years, but stays on your record permanently.
- Deportation. Undocumented immigrants could face deportation if found guilty, particularly if they have a history of criminal activity.
We Want to Help
People get behind the wheel without licenses for a variety of reasons, including getting to work in order to provide for their families. We understand and want to help.
If you are charged with driving without a license, the Easley Law Firm may be able to help. Contact us today to speak with an attorney about your situation and find out what we can try to do for you.
Should I hire a lawyer for my aggressive driving charges?
Today, it felt like everyone was out to get you. First, the cashier at the store forgot to give you one of the bags full of your purchases. Then, a waiter knocks a glass of water off of his tray and it lands in your lap—to say you’ve had a bad day is an understatement.
You just wanted to get home, pull down the shades, and relax, but driving on Interstate 95 was another test on your patience. It seemed like every large truck was on the road at the same time, and driving near these enormous vehicles in your small car is stressful.
In order to get away from the 18-wheelers, you switched lanes a few times until you were in the clear, but an officer misconstrued your actions as driving aggressively.
Should You Hire a Lawyer?
You received notice of your court date and are nervous because you don’t want anything on your record, particularly for something that you didn’t do. You’ve thought about hiring an attorney for the hearing, but is it something you really need? In a word, yes, and here’s why:
- You’re facing jail time. Aggressive driving is a Class 2 misdemeanor in Virginia, and that comes with a possible six months in jail. Attempting to prove to a judge yourself that you weren’t breaking the law is risky, and if things don’t go the way you want them to, the result is time behind bars.
- The fines are more expensive than lawyers’ fees. If money is an issue, consider this: you may have to pay $1,000 in fines, plus court fees if found guilty. A lawyer’s fees are typically less expensive than the fees, and if successful, you won’t have criminal charges on your record for this incident.
The Easley Law Firm Is Ready to Fight for You
Along with jail time and fines, you also face points on your license and a possible suspension. If you want to increase your chances of not having these penalties against you, hiring an attorney is your best bet.
Contact the Easley Law Firm today to speak with an attorney about your situation and find out what we can do for you.
What are some possible defenses for fleeing the scene of an accident?
You were involved in a serious accident on I-95 one rainy night. You accidentally lost control of your car and hydroplaned into another vehicle—causing you to lose consciousness. The last thing that you remember is hearing the sound of the airbags deploying.
The next morning you woke up at the Fairfax Health Center and you were having a difficult time recalling the accident. Your doctor told you that you were involved in an accident, and that was the end of the conversation—until you were notified by the police that you were being accused of fleeing the scene of the accident.
Defenses for Fleeing the Scene
You didn’t mean to leave the scene before exchanging information with the police—you were unconscious. Fortunately, you may be able to use this as a defense. Other possible defenses for fleeing the scene include:
- Lack of knowledge that an accident occurred
- The other driver became belligerent, causing you to leave the scene and call the police
- Not stopping wasn’t willful, but was dictated by circumstances
- You stopped as close as possible to the site of the accident
- A dispute about the identity of the actual driver exists
- The driver refused to receive identifying information from you
- Lack of knowledge that an impact occurred with a person or property
We May Be Able to Help
Drivers who are found guilty of fleeing the scene of an accident face a variety of different charges, including costly fines and jail time. If you attempt to fight these charges alone, you could end up with serious penalties.
Whether you fled the scene because you were injured, made a mistake, or were simply scared, the attorneys of the Easley Law Firm may be able to help. Our attorneys have assisted many drivers in the Fairfax area with their cases, and we may be able to do the same for you. Contact us today to learn more.
What should I do if I’m pulled over while driving with a suspended license?
You were driving down Braddock Road, on your way home from catching a game at the Patriot Center, when an officer pulled you over for speeding. You didn’t know you were driving over the speed limit, but you were aware that you shouldn’t have been driving at all—because your license is suspended.
Short of fleeing the scene—which is not recommended—there’s not much you can do to get out of the situation. Unfortunately, driving on a suspended license could land you in jail, result in a large fine, and add more time to your suspension.
What You Do Now Greatly Affects the Future
The way in which you respond towards the officer, and the actions you take have a major impact on what happens to you regarding your driving privileges in the future. The following are two helpful guidelines to follow:
- Never admit fault. Avoid saying you know that your license is suspended. If you weren’t aware that your license was suspended, tell that to the officer. If you did, however, you have the right to remain silent. Admitting that you were aware of what you were doing is stating you are guilty of committing a crime.
- Exercise courtesy. You’ve likely heard of the saying about attracting more flies with sugar than vinegar, and you should keep this in mind when talking to the officer. Acting respectfully rather than rudely or aggressively could prevent you from getting into additional trouble or even spending the night in jail.
Contact an Attorney Immediately
Perhaps the most important action you can take if you are accused of driving on a suspended license is to contact an attorney. Having a lawyer on your side when you are in trouble with the law is smart and may help you receive the outcome you desire.
The Easley Law Firm has much experience helping those in the Fairfax area get back on the road and on with their lives. Contact us today to find out how we may be able to help you.
What are the penalties for reckless driving?
Washington Nationals player Jayson Werth was recently found guilty of reckless driving and was sentenced to 10 days in jail. The famed outfielder is accused of driving his Porsche over 100 mph on the Capital Beltway in Fairfax earlier this year.
Werth claimed he may have been driving 90 mph, but didn’t believe he went any higher. His attorney doubted the pacing skills of the police officer who pulled him over, and tried to have the case thrown out. Unfortunately for Werth, that didn’t happen.
What You Can Expect When Found Guilty of Reckless Driving
Just like Werth, other motorists who are found driving recklessly can expect to feel the wrath of the legal system. Here, we go over exactly what drivers face.
- Jail time, fines, and suspensions. The most severe punishment Virginia drivers can expect to receive for reckless driving is a year in jail and a fine of $2,500. They may also have their licenses suspended for six months, and could be prohibited from driving in Virginia for six months if they are licensed in other states.
- Points. Motorists will also receive a maximum of six points to their licenses if found guilty of reckless driving. Such a hefty amount of points can increase your insurance premium or even cause your insurance company to drop your coverage.
The Easley Law Firm May Be Able to Help
The legal team behind the Easley Law Firm knows just how important your driving privileges are to you, and will do all it can to try to help you keep them. If you have a good driving record or were speeding because of a legitimate emergency, we may be able to have the case dropped or have your fines reduced. Additionally, we may be able to prove the presence of radar calibration issues or that the speedometer was read incorrectly.
Contact us today to speak with an attorney about your situation and find out how we may be able to help.
Why would a motorist have his license suspended or revoked in Virginia?
You are driving along Lee Highway when your passenger says, “There’s a cop! Slow down!”—you hit the brakes as quickly, and as unobvious, as you can. Your actions don’t work, however, as you soon notice the flashing lights of a patrol car in your rearview mirror.
You pull over on to the shoulder and sit while the officer runs your license through the system and writes you a ticket. You are told you were going 15 mph over the speed limit, and since this isn’t your first time receiving such a citation, you’re a bit worried.
Why Your License Is Suspended or Revoked
The State of Virginia may suspend or revoke your license if you meet one or more of the qualifying criteria. When your license is suspended, you lose your driving privileges temporarily. When it is revoked, the state terminates your ability to drive until you are granted permission to do so again.
Reasons for a License Suspension
- Failure to complete a driver improvement clinic.
- Failure to satisfy an outstanding judgment following a motor vehicle accident.
- A court-ordered reckless driving conviction.
- Accumulating a large amount of demerit points on your license.
Reasons for a License Revocation
- Felony violations in which a motor vehicle was used.
- Failure to stop and disclose your identity at the scene of a crash.
- Driving while intoxicated.
- Three point convictions for violations committed while under the age of 18.
Call the Easley Law Firm for Help
If you are facing a license suspension or revocation, you’ll need the help of an experienced attorney on your side. If you attempt to fight your charges alone, you will have an increased chance of losing your driving privileges.
The legal professionals of the Easley Law Firm may be able to help you with your situation. Contact us today to learn how we have helped others in the Fairfax area, and how we may be able to assist you, as well.
Do I really need a lawyer for a reckless driving charge?
Possibly. It is certainly worthwhile consulting a lawyer for such charge.
Reckless Driving, like many traffic or misdemeanor offenses, can be deceiving. It often appears harmless and many decide to handle the matter in court themselves. After all, a Reckless Driving charge is simply an overblown speeding or traffic matter, right? Do not be deceived. Reckless Driving in Virginia is a class 1 misdemeanor and carries a penalty of up to 12 months incarceration and $2,500 fine, either or both. The court can also suspend your privilege to drive in Virginia for up to 6 months.
Candidly, most do not go to jail or lose their privilege to drive for Reckless Driving (depending on the circumstances, of course). But, it is important to note that even if the court simply imposes a mere fine or less, upon conviction, the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will assess 6 demerit points to your driving point balance and the conviction will remain on your record for 11 years. Often, the most significant punishment is your increased insurance rates, or worse, for the next 11 years.
Accordingly, it is well worth at least consulting a lawyer for a Reckless Driving or other seemingly harmless traffic matters. A lawyer can assist in determining what defenses you may have available. A lawyer can also assist in negotiations with police/prosecution, mitigation and presenting you to the court in the most favorable light possible.