I sit in Court often, waiting for my turn on the docket, hearing other cases that are being tried before mine. What gives me the shivers and a cold sweat is seeing a pro se defendant (no lawyer) walk up to the front of the room and plead guilty to Reckless Driving, a Class 1 Misdemeanor, without a fight. There are reasons why no self-respecting lawyer would do this to his or her client.
Reckless Driving is not a traffic infraction, it is a misdemeanor. When you plead guilty, you are agreeing to a criminal record…for life. When you are asked by a college, a recruiter, or an employer for example, if you have a criminal record, you must truthfully answer yes. By pleading guilty, you are now not just charged, with a crime, but you have been convicted of one. In Virginia, you cannot expunge this record; you will not be able to remove this conviction from your permanent record. EVER.
So, what to do? When you make a mistake and you cut your arm, please call a doctor. If you get stopped and you get charged with a crime, call a lawyer!