Going on vacation and planning on driving through Virginia on Route 13? Well there are a few things you should know before driving through Virginia’s Eastern Shore:
As a traffic and criminal defense lawyer in Northampton County, Virginia, the typical scenario I hear from most of my clients charged with Reckless Driving by Speed in Northampton County is that they were going on vacation and chose to drive through Virginia on Route 13 instead of Interstate 95. This usually bypasses the dense traffic in Washington DC and Northern Virginia, which in turn lessens travel time.
However, this requires you to drive through Northampton County (i.e., Eastville, Cape Charles, etc.). The problem is that Northampton County is a giant speed trap. It may be tempting to speed on the open country roads, but you can trust that the police in Northampton County are out on the prowl looking for speeders. Especially if you are speeding on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel – the 17.6 mile bridge that connects Northampton County with Virginia Beach. That bridge is so large it has its own police department.
In fact, the judges in Northampton County, namely Judge Vincent, Judge Gordon and Judge Lewis, are particularly concerned when you are accused of speeding on the bridge because of the fear that a seagull could unexpectedly hit your windshield and cause you to react, swerve uncontrollably and plunge over the bridge. This is known as the famous “seagull story” in that courthouse.
It doesn’t help that the speed limit in Northampton County constantly changes from 45 mph to 55 mph back down to 45 mph, etc. This is especially confusing for out of state drivers who are unfamiliar with the area. Oftentimes the police hear that one was unaware of the posted speed limit, but unfortunately this is not a defense to a Reckless Driving by Speed charge. The judges will undoubtedly hold that you as a driver on a Virginia highway have a duty to look for and abide by all posted speed limit signs regardless of where you are from.
Moreover, the judges in Northampton County will strongly consider putting you in jail if you are caught driving at speeds of 91 mph or above.
If you find yourself with a speeding ticket or criminal charge in Northampton County, you should strongly consider retaining an experienced attorney to protect your interests. The address for the Northampton County, Virginia courthouse is: 5229 The Hornes, Eastville, Virginia 23347. Depending on your charge, I may be able to appear in court on your behalf so that you do not have to appear in court.
Bottom line: Don’t speed in Northampton County.
By Michael Huff, Esq.