Virginia Reckless Driving Appeals – Free is a Gimmick!

If you’re convicted of reckless driving in Virginia’s General District Courts, you have the absolute right to appeal the case for a new trial in Circuit Court. I’ve previously explained the appeal option, and your other choice, a motion to reopen.

Some traffic attorneys advertise that they’ll handle your Circuit Court appeal for free, if you hire them for the first trial. But is that really a good deal for you?

In my opinion, no. Here are some reasons why.

1. Do you really want the same attorney again? Think about it: you just lost with that attorney. You may not want them to handle your appeal, if they weren’t able to help you get a satisfactory outcome in the first court. There are certainly reasons why the case could go South with an excellent attorney (it happens to all of us from time to time), most notably if the judge simply does something unusual and unexpected. In those situations, sticking with your attorney makes sense. But in at least some cases, defendants want to look for a different attorney. Do you think the “your appeal is free” attorney will give you half the money back?

2. Most cases aren’t appealed. This is what the attorney is banking on. Free appeals are a low-risk promise to make because most people don’t redeem the offer. Most Virginia reckless driving cases simply don’t get appealed. Not everyone is always happy with the outcome in the first court, but appealing the case puts all possibilities back on the table. You CAN get a worse result on appeal. Many people are happy with the outcome in General District Court, and many of those who aren’t happy simply cut their losses and call it quits.

3. It can be MUCH more expensive. Some of the attorneys I’ve heard of who advertise free appeals charge two to FIVE times as much as attorneys who just charge for the General District Court trial. You may think that you’re getting “two trials for the price of one,” but you might really be paying for both trials right up front.

In short, I think the “free appeal” angle is a gimmick. Attorneys can certainly advertise that, and some people may be comforted knowing the precise fee is all they’ll have to pay in the unlikely event of an appeal. But I don’t think it’s in YOUR best interest to do business that way.

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Andrew Flusche

My name is Andrew Flusche. I am a traffic and misdemeanor defense lawyer in Virginia. I limit my practice to traffic tickets and misdemeanor defense, so I know the ins and outs of these offenses. I literally wrote the book on reckless driving in Virginia which you can get on Amazon here or download for free here. I opened my practice in 2008 after earning my Juris Doctor degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. Since then I have earned over 600 5-star reviews from happy clients on Google, Yelp, Facebook, and Avvo. If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor offense in Virginia, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Your initial consultation is always free, and you'll talk directly with me about the details of your case.

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