3 Lesser-Known Virginia Reckless Driving Laws

These three “lesser-known” Virginia reckless driving laws sometimes take drivers by surprise.

Many people incorrectly assume speeding is the only way a driver can be charged with reckless driving in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The truth is, speeding is but one out of the more than dozen driving behaviors deemed to be reckless. Our own expert analysis has revealed several somewhat common, ableit lesser-known forms of this criminal Class 1 misdemeanor.

Due to the well-known nature of the “speeding” version of reckless driving in Virginia, you will find contained in this article a brief discussion following this list.

1. Maintain Control (Failure) or Operating a Vehicle with Faulty Brakes

“[Driving] a vehicle which is not under proper control or which has inadequate or improperly adjusted brakes… “

This charge often follows a car accident. But oftentimes, the officer arrives to the scene late (and thus, does not witness the accident). This will lead to a situation in which an officer may seek statements from witnesses, or from the driver. But if there are no witnesses, and if the driver makes no incriminating statement, then there is a good argument to be made in court that the prosecution cannot meet their burden of proof. Remember: in no event does a person have to testify. This is a fundamental Constitutional right. Unfortunately, people often make statements to police officers and do not realize they are making an incriminating statement.

It is particularly important to take a reckless driving charge seriously, primarily due to the fact that it is a criminal offense… not a mere traffic infraction. In Virginia, a criminal conviction will remain on an adult’s criminal record for life.

2. Passing Vehicle (When Approaching a Curve or Hill)

This particular offense applies when the driver’s view along the road is obstructed. This does not apply if the road has more than one lane in the direction that the driver is traveling, nor does it apply on “designated one-way roadways or highways.”

To illustrate, consider this example:

As you approach the top of a hill (one that you cannot see over), a driver from your rear crosses over the double-solid yellow line and speeds up to pass. Since you cannot quite see what is over the crest, the driver passing you surely cannot safely see. If there is an oncoming car in that driver’s lane, he will possibly strike it in a head-on collision.

3. Obstructed View (Ever seen a mattress on top of someone’s roof)?

This offense is sometimes charged when a person innocently makes an attempt to transport a large, bulky object (i.e., a mattress, lumber, etc..). Other times, it is an offense charged when too many people are in a vehicle. For example, if a person is sitting on the console between a driver and passenger, then it is possible that the driver’s view may be “obstructed,” or blocked.

A Note on Reckless Driving by way of Speed

Most reckless driving charges in Virginia are a result of a driver speeding. But not just any speed qualifies as “reckless.” There are two distinct ways in which a driver may be charged with reckless driving; one is actually somewhat controversial.

  • 20 mph or more above the limit.
  • “in excess” of 80 mph, regardless of limit.

The first type (speeding 20 mph or more over the limit) is the less controversial form of reckless driving by speed. The controversey is due to the “regardless of limit” language. For example, a driver who is speeding 81 mph on a highway with a limit of 70 mph can be charged and convicted of reckless driving, despite the fact that he or she was only traveling 11 mph over the limit. When it comes to speed, however, there are several defenses which may apply in some cases.

Careful! These Poor Excuses Typically Fail

It is common for unrepresented drivers to make poor, but logical excuses. Some examples of such excuses are:

  • “I had to use the bathroom.”
  • “I was going with the flow of traffic.”
  • “I was late to an interview.”
  • “Someone was trying to race me.”

There are, however, viable defenses in some cases. For example, in Virginia, if there is a dispute as to speed (and a radar or laser device was used by the arresting officer), then the officer must show a valid calibration certificate in court. If the certificate is outdated, then the case is dismissed.

“What Fines am I Facing?”

Regardless of the form of reckless driving a person is accused of violating, all are Class 1 misdemeanor criminal offenses in Virginia:

  • up to 12 months in jail,
  • a fine up to $2,500, and
  • loss of driving privileges.

The actual punishment(s) you face, if charged and convicted, will vary depending upon multiple factors. The maximum penalties are rare, but possible.

What Can I Expect To Happen At Arraignment?

Arraignment is a very short court proceeding wherein the accused is read the formal charges against him and then is asked to enter a plea. The three plea options are Guilty, Not Guilty and Not Guilty, Not Guilty By Reason of Insanity. The arraignment hearing will generally last no more than a few minutes. At arraignment no argument are heard, no witnesses and no evidence are presented to the court.

If the accused pleads Guilty, the judge will likely question the accused to be sure the accused is fully aware of the consequences of his plea and most times, representative counsel is also questioned to ensure the accused has been advised of his options. Obviously, a Guilty plea is not very common; although, it occurs occasionally.

The most common plea is for the accused to declare Not Guilty. The court will then advise the accused and his representative counsel the time period allowed to file pretrial motions. In Louisiana, the accused is allowed 15 days to file the motions. Once the clerk of court receives the motions, they are forwarded to the parties listed for service on the bottom of the documents. This is almost always the District Attorney’s Office and sometimes other parties, depending on the motion.

The Judge receives the motion and he will then sign the order which sets a date for the contradictory hearing. In most cases all motions filed at the same time are set for the same date and time for arguments.

Argument is a loose term and is used because the hearings are adversarial, but no screaming back and forth actually occurs. Argument means the parties present their side and offer legislative law or case law to support their position.

The mover (party filing the motion) in most every instance bears the responsibility of presenting his issue and should cite authority to support his argument. The authority can be a law enacted by the legislature – generally called a Statute – or a case precedent – that is a case with the same issue that was ruled on by a higher court such as a Court of Appeal and or the Supreme Court.

The opposing party follows with an argument of his own that supports his position and is backed up a Statute and or Case law. Naturally, the higher the court the more persuasive the authority is and if the ruling is from a higher court from the same jurisdiction the case law becomes more authoritative than case law from an outside jurisdiction.

The arraignment is just the first step on the road litigating your case. Pretrial hearings follow and then pre-trial conferences and finally a trial.

Copyright Registration: Why Wait?

Copyright registration is automatic; your work, whether it is a novel, a photograph, an architectural drawing, or any other eligible type of intellectual property, is automatically protected by a copyright. And official US Copyright Office registration costs $35.

So why would anyone ever want to pay for an official copyright registration? Let’s take a closer look at the hidden costs involved in waiting until someone is infringing on your copyright before getting an official copyright registration from the US Copyright Office.

Copyright protection is automatic.

First, let’s take a look at the automatic copyright protections that you’re entitled to simply by fixing your work in a tangible medium (meaning that the work exists somewhere outside of your own imagination, either physically, digitally, or otherwise). According to the Copyright Office:

Copyright protection subsists from the time the work is created in fixed form. The copyright in the work of authorship immediately becomes the property of the author who created the work.

Official copyright registration is, therefore, not a requirement for copyright protection.

Copyright registration, while not a legal requirement, provides other benefits to the copyright holder.

Among these benefits are:

  • Your contact information is kept on record. This means that anyone seeking to contact you with a licensing proposition or other financial arrangements will be easily able to do so by searching the Copyright Office’s registration database.
  • You’ll need a registration in order to bring legal action against someone. You can do this at any time, of course, but keep in mind that while a $35 registration can take up to 9 months to be processed, a rush filing will cost $760.
  • Registration provides courtroom incentives. If you register your copyright within three months of publication, it’s possible that you could be awarded attorney fees in addition to damages and profits. And registration within five years of publication establishes prima facie evidence of the copyright’s validity.

You might not be the type of person who could see themselves ever suing anyone. But would you feel the same way if you found out someone was benefiting financially from your hard work, without your permission? Would you rather spend $35 now and not need it, or wait until you do and have to spend $760 plus lawyer fees later? The choice is yours.

Drug Testing – An Effective Strategy in Catching Drug Users

Nowadays, drug testing has become one of the primary initiatives in big organizations. Its one of the effective ways to detect drug content in a human body. Not only in work places but educational institutions like schools, colleges and universities too consider it necessary for every individual. A drug screening is conducted where individuals pass through certain tests that finally point out the victim.

Presently, people with the help of certain formulated products like masking chemicals and synthetic urine succeeds in passing drug tests. Therefore, most employers do not depend on the normal testing procedures. There are ample modern drug testing methods that assures to fetch correct results. Some of them are hair testing, hair alcohol testing, saliva testing, urine testing and a few more.

Lets kick off with hair. Compared to sweat, saliva or urine testing, hair follicle drug testing is much more expensive. But its very true that the results obtained from such testing procedures is perfectly accurate. Hair follicle drug testing is one of the most sensitive methods in detecting drug content.

This flawless technique ensures employers with quick results in comparison to other procedures. It works superb in pointing out whether the employee is drug addicted or he has ended his drug intakes recently just to cover up his usage. Therefore, the ones who are planning to take formulated products with the object of getting through the test, might land up in great danger.

As far as the urine test goes, the individual on being asked by the employer goes to a separate collection site where his urine is collected in a specially designed and secured cup as part of a specimen. The cup is sealed with the help of a tamper resistant tape so that it remains safe. Sometimes, your physician with the help of express delivery space sends your urine specimen to the laboratory for testing. At the laboratory, the urine is basically divided into two aliquots. Out of that, one aliquot goes for the initial screening. Now, if the urine screen comes with positive results, the next aliquot is provided for confirmation. The test results are reviewed at the Medical Review Office by their appointed physicians. When results are declared negative, the MRO reports the employers.

Nowadays, hair alcohol drug tests are mostly conducted by researchers. Hair alcohol drug detecting test is primarily conducted for detecting the patterns of drinking among working employees and also students. This in fact help to identify social drinkers, regular drinkers and even non-drinkers. If your hair absorbs certain components like fatty acid ethyl esters and ethyl glucuronide, then your blood is bound to contain a certain amount of alcohol.

Presently, hair drug alcohol testing has come among the top preferences for many employers today who finds it simply best in trapping drug addicts. In fact, these drug detecting procedures are quite essential for the parents who remain unaware of their children’s health malpractices. Even business owners treat it as an essential alternative keeping in mind the harmful effects that might hamper his business.

How Specialist Copyright Solicitors Deal With Copyright Infringement

If you are the creator and owner of a piece of work that is protected by copyright and someone makes use of that work without your permission, this could well be a case of copyright infringement.

If you suspect that this has happened to you then it is definitely a good idea to seek the advice of specialist copyright solicitors to find out about your legal rights and what your options really are. Read on for an introduction to Copyright infringement and the legal issues surrounding it.

Copyright infringement could take many forms, including things such as straightforward copying of your work, performing drama in public without permission, broadcasting work in public, playing music in public, renting work to the public or altering work (such as by translating it) without permission. However, it is worth noting that some uses of work are allowed by law and it can often be complicated proving that your rights have actually been infringed upon. This is why you are advised to talk to specialist copyright solicitors if you think you have a case of infringement.

There are a couple of things you need to consider if your work has been infringed upon. One is whether you are willing to give your permission for the work to be used, and another is what you want to do if you aren’t willing to give them permission. Many people are willing to give permission for their work to be used in certain circumstances as they can often benefit financially as a result.

For instance, one option would be to set up a licensing agreement with the person or group wanting to use your work. This is something that your copyright solicitors would be able to help you with and you could typically expect to earn royalties or benefit from some other payment in return for them being able to make use of your work in a specific, agreed way. This will normally also include provisions for termination of the license, which helps you to further protect your work.

When it comes to taking action against someone who has infringed upon your work, you will normally have to contact them to explain the breach. You can ask them to stop using your work if you wish. Generally, legal action should be the last resort but if they do not heed your requests, you should talk to copyright solicitors. You should also talk to solicitors if you want to set up a license or other form of agreement. Often, people don’t even realise they are infringing your copyright, so it is always best to be polite and most situations should be able to be resolved without too much difficulty.

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