Hi, I am Luke Nichols with the law firm of
Nichols & Green pllc. And I love defending reckless driving cases.
I have dedicated a serious portion of my career and even my spare time to learning and teaching
about reckless driving. For example, I am one of the few attorneys
who have gone through the NHTSA training courses for speed enforcement.
These are the training courses that law enforcement have to go through before they can use RADAR
or pace or LiDAR for speed enforcement. I have even taken it a step further and gone
through and gotten certified or gone through the certification course for becoming a speed
enforcement instructor. This is the program or the training program
that police officers go through to teach at police academies.
To teach other officers police officers how to use LiDAR, RADAR and to do pacing.
This is something I love to teach about and I love to write about as well.
I have written several books on traffic law and criminal law.
And I am the author of the Virginia Reckless Driving Handbook, which is now in its 3rd
edition. I also teach continuing legal education seminars
to other lawyers about issues related to reckless driving and other traffic crimes.
I don’t do law suits, I don’t do divorces, I don’t write contracts.
I am a criminal defense lawyer. And I love to do reckless driving cases.
I do more reckless driving cases than any other type of case.
My law partner, Garrett Green and I, we handle about 300 reckless driving case each year
So, almost every single day that the court is open, me and Garrett are there defending
someone against a reckless driving charge. We have seen all sorts of types of reckless
driving cases, from the very mundane to the very serious.
Most of our clients are a charged with reckless driving by speed, 20 to 30 mph over the speed
limit. That is a very average, typical sort of reckless
driving charge. We defend several of those type of reckless
driving cases each week. I have also defended a driver accused of going
150 mph in a 55 mph zone. Many of our clients have done very little
to deserve their reckless driving charges, But we have also represented very serious
cases. I have defended drivers who have been accused
of having their car go airborne into someone’s house.
Who have totaled police cars. I have even represented a driver who crashed
their car into two fire trucks on the same night.
And I have defended people who have cause very serious and permanent physical injury
to people. Most of our clients have very good driving
records, but we have represented clients with some real doozies.
I have represented a driver who had -54 DMV points on their DMV record.
So we have seen quite the spectrum. However, these experiences.
Doing hundreds and hundreds of these cases, it doesn’t just make us good at doing more
reckless driving cases. It makes us better at communicating with our
clients. With talking to drivers who are accused of
reckless driving. And this is important, because despite the
huge variety of reckless driving cases and all the different ways you can be charged
with reckless driving. It seems to me that everyone who comes into
my office, they have the same questions. And they want answers.
More than anything they want someone to explain to them, what is going one, what are the realistic
worst and best case scenarios. What defenses do they have available.
What are we going to do for them? What is it going to be like at court?
And they want to know exactly what we are going to charge them.
The things is, the truth of the matter is that if you do hundreds and hundreds of these
cases, then answering these questions is very very simple.
Its very simple. Reckless driving cases for the most part are
very predictable compared to most criminal cases.
They are quite predictable. When someone comes into my office.
When they have a reckless driving case, when they call me up on the phone or come into
my office in person, very quickly we can answer all their questions and give them really good
concrete answers. So for instance, if you were to come into
my office and do a free consultation, I would sit down and I would ask you some questions.
My staff would ask you some questions. We would want to know about your DMV record.
We would want to know about the incident itself. Your interactions with the law enforcement
officer. I would want to know a little bit about you.
Do you have a security clearance? What do you do for a living?
What are your plans for the future? I want to know about you so I can give you
advice about how different potential outcomes can affect your future.
Quite quickly I am going to get all the information I need and then I am going to be able to tell
you your worst case and best case scenarios. If you have been online at all, or read any
material about reckless driving you have heard: 12 months in Jail, $2,500 in fines, 6 month
loss of license, a permanent criminal record. These things are all technically true. Those
are the theoretical maximum penalties for a reckless driving charge.
It is a class one misdemeanor for the most part, but for the vast majority of reckless
driving cases they are not going to go to jail for 12 months.
Most of them aren’t even going to jail Most reckless driving convictions don’t result
in a loss of license. And certainly most of them don’t result in
a $2,500 fine. There is a huge spectrum between a criminal
conviction and few hundred dollar fine and going to jail for a year.
Obviously, the extreme high end of the spectrum is not the realistic outcome for most people.
Instead, what we are going to tell you is not the theoretical maximum but I am going
to tell you a realistic maximum. I am going to say, based on the jurisdiction
you are in, depending on the judge you get, and depending on the officer’s attitude, and
your answer to this question or that question, your worst case scenario is this.
And for most of my clients I am able to tell them whether or not they are facing any realistic
possibility of jail time. I am able to confidentially tell then whether
they are facing a realistic possibility of losing their license.
I can tell a lot of them whether or not they are in danger of an excessive fine.
Then after I have told them about the worst case scenario then of course we very quickly
want to get to the best case scenario. Because the point is not scare you the point
is to give you solutions. And so we can explain what can be done.
Of course the best case scenario is a complete acquittal where you walk out of court with
nothing. That is always a possibility in any case.
But in the majority of cases we are able to work them out into a reasonable compromise.
Most people who come into my office are concerned about the criminal conviction.
That is their number one concern. And avoiding that is often a possibility in
a lot of cases. In your case may be it is, maybe it is not,
but very quickly we are going to tell you what realistically the likely best case scenario
is. So we are going to tell you a realistic worst
case scenario, a worst case best case scenario and talk to you about the different gradients
in between And we are going to explain to you exactly
what we are going to do to try and help you out.
Additionally we are going to have a conversation about your priorities. I want to know what
you are most concerned about. What are your objectives?
And I am going to talk to you about how all these different aspects are going to affect
your life. Maybe you are concerned about auto insurance.
Well I can explain to you how most insurance companies deal with various different tickets
and what you can do to help your insurance and what will hurt your insurance.
If you are concerned about criminal records I can talk to you about that and how we can
avoid them. If you are concerned about your license, I
can talk to you about whether that is even a possibility and if it is, what we can do
about it. So we are going to have a discussion about
all the different concerns that you have and how we can go and fix it. What we can do to
prevent it. And you are going to tell me what your priorities are and I am going to tell
you what the likelihood of success is and exactly the best strategies to go and get
your goals achieved. And afterwards. After we are done having this
conversation I am going to give you a to-do list of everything I recommend that you do
to prepare for your case. It is going to have detailed explanations,
and resources explaining where you can go to get this and get that.
It will include things like getting a copy of your DMV record, perhaps taking a driver
improvement course, writing a detailed incident summary about what happened and a little biography
about yourself so I can know more information about you. It might involve doing community
service of getting a speedometer calibration or many other things.
Your to-do list will be tailored to your particular case, to your particular needs, to achieving
your particular objectives. Once we have that all done we are going to
talk to you about our fees. We are going to give you a flat fee with no hidden costs.
Once we give you a fee that is all you will ever have to pay us for that particular case.
And we also offer payment plans and we can discuss that with you. But we are going to
write down our fee in writing in a contract and give it to you and you are going to have
as much time as you need to look it over, take it home, think about it, that’s ok.
By the time you leave our office, we are going to do everything we can to make sure that
all of your questions have been answered, that all of your concerns have been addressed.
That we understand your priorities and your objectives and that you understand what we
are going to do to achieve them. And then when you leave you are going to have
time to think about whether or not you want to retain us, exactly what we cost, and exactly
what payment options are available to make it a little bit more affordable.
Whether you have a minor reckless driving offense or a very serious one, we hope that
you feel free to call us anytime to set up a free consultation by phone or in person
so we can have this conversation with you. Because more than anything, we enjoy what
we do, we enjoy defending reckless driving cases and we want to share our experience
with you and help put your mind at ease so that you know exactly what the likely outcome
of your case is and exactly what you are facing. Once again give us a call anytime. We are
happy to answer questions. If you have been charged with a reckless driving offense in
Northern Virginia we will be happy to answer your questions.
Thank for watching. “Reckless Driving Lawyer” by Luke Nichols
of Nichols & Green pllc.