Can I Face Reckless Driving Charges for Speeding in Virginia?
Reckless driving in Virginia is a criminal offense that involves a risk of property damage, physical injury, or even death. While there is a general rule against reckless driving, there are also specific laws that qualify certain driving conduct as reckless driving, including unreasonable and excessive speeding.
Any person who commits reckless driving will typically face Class 1 misdemeanor or Class 6 felony charges, depending on the circumstances. If convicted, reckless driving offenders will usually spend time in jail or prison and pay criminal fines. Reckless driving offenses are also subject to mandatory suspension of driving privileges.
Given these potential criminal consequences, it is vital for all Virginia drivers to understand how speeding can lead to criminal charges for reckless driving. In certain cases, the difference speeding and reckless driving can be fairly slight.
What is a Speeding Ticket?
There are maximum speed limits posted on highways and other roads throughout Virginia. In the absence of a posted sign, Code of Virginia Section 46.2-870 establishes general speed limits, including a maximum of:
- 25 miles per hour in school zones or school crossing zones;
- 25 miles per hour in many residential and business districts;
- 45 miles per hour for trucks, trailers, and other large vehicles;
- 55 miles per hour for passenger vehicles, motorcycles, and similar vehicles;
- 60 miles per hour on certain high-speed routes; and
- 70 miles per hour on certain interstate highways with multiple lanes for traffic in each direction.
Any driver who exceeds the maximum speed limit will likely face a speeding ticket. If the driver only exceeded the speed limit by a few miles per hour, a speeding ticket with a fine is generally the only punishment.
What is Unreasonable Speeding?
Code of Virginia Section 46.2-861 creates a duty for all drivers to operate their vehicles at reasonable speeds, based on traffic and other conditions at the time. Even if a person is driving under the maximum posted speed limit, traffic or other conditions could dictate a lower speed. If a driver operates their vehicle at an unreasonable speed, they can face charges for reckless driving in Virginia.
What is Excessive Speeding?
Code of Virginia Section 46.2-862 outlines how drivers can face reckless driving charges for exceeding certain speed limits. Under this section, a person commits reckless driving if they operate a motor vehicle:
- 20 miles per hour or more in excess of the posted speed limit; or
- 85 miles per hour or more regardless of the posted speed limit.
Let Us Help You Today
If you have legal questions about reckless driving in Virginia, it can be highly productive to contact an established Winchester reckless driving attorney. The attorneys at Simms Showers LLP have demonstrated capabilities in the arena of criminal defense, including defending against charges of reckless driving and various other offenses. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free initial consultation.