Reckless Driving in Virginia
A Reckless Driving ticket is different than a simple speeding ticket, and a lot more serious. Under Virginia law you can be charged with reckless driving for speeding as little as 11 mph over the limit, or for a minor traffic accident.
Types of Reckless Driving
The most common type of reckless driving is Reckless Driving by Speed (VA §46.2-862), which Virginia defines as speeding 20 mph or more over the limit, or for driving faster than 80 mph. That means that you can be charged with reckless driving for going 81 mph on a 70 mph interstate.
The second most common type of reckless driving is Failure to Maintain Control (VA §46.2-853). You can be charged with this if you are involved in a single-car accident, or if you hit another vehicle (even if there is very little damage).
Finally, police have discretion to charge Reckless Driving Generally (VA §46.2-852) when they believe a vehicle is being driven at a speed or in a way that endangers people or property.
Worst Case Scenarios
Reckless Driving is a Class 1 misdemeanor, which means that it's a crime instead of a traffic infraction. A Class 1 misdemeanor carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. Virginia statute §46.2-392 further allows the court to suspend a person's drivers license for up to six months.
While Virginia law does allow jail time and license suspension, these punishments are reserved for extreme situations. However, almost everyone charged with Reckless Driving is facing points on their driving record (6 points in Virginia), higher insurance premiums, and a misdemeanor on their criminal record. Reckless Driving is also classified as a Serious Violation for CDL drivers, which can suspend a CDL license.
Best Case Scenarios
Reckless Driving is a serious offense, but in many cases it can be reduced or dismissed. The assistance of an experienced attorney can mean the difference between a misdemeanor on your criminal record, or a minor traffic infraction on your driving record.
Call us at (540) 339-7775 to discuss the specifics of your case. After a short conversation we will be able to tell what defenses may be available, and whether a reduction or a dismissal is likely.