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SIMMS SHOWERS LLP Leesburg & Loudoun County Attorney
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3 FAQs On Reckless Driving Under Virginia Law


Reckless driving is a broad criminal offense under Virginia law that can occur in many different forms. At a threshold level, reckless driving involves dangerous conduct behind the wheel of a vehicle. Accordingly, reckless driving offenders can face serious criminal penalties.

  1. What is Reckless Driving in Virginia?

Code of Virginia Section 46.2-852 establishes the overarching definition of reckless driving. Under Virginia law, reckless driving occurs when the perpetrator:

  • Operates a motor vehicle in a wanton or reckless fashion; and
  • Endangers the life, limb, or property of any person as a direct result.

In this context, the applicable speed limit does not matter. A person can drive under the legally posted speed limit and still commit reckless driving.

  1. Does Virginia Have Other Reckless Driving Laws?

In short, yes, Virginia law classifies many types of dangerous behavior as reckless driving. There are many examples of conduct that qualify as reckless driving in Virginia, including but not limited to:

  • Passing two other vehicles at the same time (Code of Virginia Section 46.2-856);
  • Operating two vehicles in a single lane (Code of Virginia Section 46.2-857);
  • Passing another vehicle at a railroad crossing (Code of Virginia Section 46.2-858);
  • Passing a stopped school bus (Code of Virginia Section 46.2-859); and
  • Failing to use signals properly (Code of Virginia Section 46.2-860).
  1. What are the Virginia Penalties for Reckless Driving?

Code of Virginia Section 46.2-868 furnishes the penalties for reckless driving. There are both misdemeanor and felony versions of this offense under Virginia law.

Commonly, reckless driving leads to Class 1 misdemeanor charges in Virginia. A conviction at this level can result in a maximum jail sentence of one year and criminal fines up to $2,500.

If reckless driving includes certain aggravating factors, however, it can lead to Class 6 felony charges in Virginia. More specifically, the felony version of this offense requires a driver to commit reckless driving and also:

  • Have a license suspended or revoked as a result of moving violation; and
  • Cause a fatality as a direct result of reckless driving.

A conviction for a Class 6 felony in Virginia can result in a prison sentence between one and five years as well as criminal fines up to $2,500.

In addition, reckless driving can lead to license suspension under Code of Virginia Section 46.2-393. This section allows the Virginia courts to suspend a reckless driving offender’s license for 60 days to six months.

Do You Need Legal Help?

If you have legal questions about reckless driving in Virginia, it can be highly productive to contact a proficient Leesburg reckless driving attorney. The attorneys at Simms Showers LLP appreciate how to defend against criminal charges like reckless driving. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free initial consultation.


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Simms Showers LLP is conveniently located two blocks from the Loudoun County Courthouse. Our criminal defense firm offers a free phone consultation for criminal or personal injury cases. Se habla español. Call Simms Showers LLP for quality legal counsel today at 703-997-7821 or contact us online.

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