Can a Virginia Reckless Driving Charge Put Me in Jail?
The short answer is yes. There are several different circumstances where a reckless driving charge can land you in jail. Reckless driving is a criminal charge in Virginia and can result in serious penalties. If you are charged with reckless driving in Virginia, you should contact a skilled reckless driving attorney as soon as possible to help mitigate some of these consequences.
Reckless Driving in Virginia
Virginia is notorious for how seriously the state takes reckless driving. Reckless driving is not merely a moving violation, it is a criminal charge. Reckless driving is usually a Class 1 misdemeanor and is punishable by up to one year in jail, six months suspended driver’s license, six points on your driving record in Virginia, and a fine of up to $2,500. Reckless driving can be a Class 6 felony if the person driving has lost their license due to moving violations and the reckless driving was the cause of the death of another. Class 6 felonies are punishable by a fine of up to $2,500 and up to five years in jail. In these scenarios there may also be other charges such as vehicular manslaughter, which come with their own penalties.
Reckless driving covers a number of different offenses. One of the most common causes for a reckless driving charge is speeding. Speeding becomes reckless driving in Virginia when a driver is going 20 miles or more over the speed limit or they are driving over 80 miles per hour no matter what the speed limit is. Other reasons for reckless driving include: failure to yield to right of way, not being in full control of the vehicle, failing to give proper signal, passing a school bus or emergency vehicle, and several other offenses including a general “reckless driving” charge based on the judgment of the officer.
Likelihood of Jail Time
While misdemeanor reckless driving is punishable by up to one year in jail, judges may give less or no jail time. Judges will look at all of the circumstances and particulars of the case. For example, someone driving 82 mph in a 30 mph zone is much more likely to get jail time than someone driving 82 mph in a 65 mph zone. Judges will also look at previous driving records and the level of danger the reckless driving offense incurred.
It is impossible to know what a particular judge will do unless your attorney is familiar with the local judges and the penalties that they tend to give, which is why it is so important to work with local attorneys who know the courts and judges.
Let Us Help You Today
If you are charged with reckless driving in Virginia, you should contact a knowledgeable reckless driving attorney as soon as possible to help defend you against the charges. Our experienced reckless driving attorneys at Simms Showers, LLP in Leesburg, Virginia, can help get your charges reduced or dismissed and lower or eliminate the amount of time you have to spend in jail.