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Is Reckless Driving a Criminal Offense in Virginia?


Every year, across the Commonwealth of Virginia, reckless driving is the cause of many incidents of damage, harm, and injury. Accordingly, Virginia law classifies reckless driving as a criminal offense, meaning that any person charged with reckless driving faces the real possibility of confinement and expensive fines.

What is the General Rule Against Reckless Driving?

The general rule against reckless driving appears in Code of Virginia Section 46.2-852. Under this section, reckless driving must involve the risk of property damage, physical injury, or death. When a person operates their motor vehicle in this fashion, you can face this charge in Virginia.

Are There Other Types of Reckless Driving?

In addition to the general rule discussed previously, Virginia law also classifies other driving behaviors as reckless driving. Other types of reckless driving in Virginia include, but are not limited to:

  • Driving a vehicle without proper control or with faulty brakes, in violation of Code of Virginia Section 46.2-853;
  • Passing other vehicles at a railroad crossing, in violation of Code of Virginia Section 46.2-858;
  • Not yielding the right-of-way, in violation of Code of Virginia Section 46.2-863; and
  • Engaging in street racing, in violation of Code of Virginia Section 46.2-865.

What are the Penalties for Reckless Driving?

The penalties for reckless driving appear in Code of Virginia Section 46.2-868. Under this section, this crime is usually a Class 1 misdemeanor. Upon conviction for this misdemeanor, the penalties include a maximum of 12 months in county jail and criminal fines up to $2,500.

In more extreme cases, however, reckless driving can be charged as a Class 6 felony. The felony version of this offense applies to any person who commits reckless driving while driving on a suspended license and causes the death of someone else. Upon conviction for this felony, the penalties can include one to five years in prison and criminal fines up to $2,500.

Is There License Suspension for Reckless Driving?

In short, yes, Virginia law requires license suspension for all reckless driving offenses. The length of the applicable suspension period depends upon the type of charge in question.

Code of Virginia Section 46.2-393 governs the suspension timeline for misdemeanor reckless driving offenses. Under this section, misdemeanor reckless driving offenses are subject to a suspension period of at least 60 days and, at most, six months.

Code of Virginia Section 46.2-396 determines the revocation timeline for felony reckless driving offenses. Under this section, felony reckless driving offenses are subject to a revocation period of, at most, 12 months.

Let Us Help You Today

If you need legal assistance with a Virginia charge of reckless driving or another crime, it can be distinctly helpful to reach out to a seasoned criminal defense attorney. The Winchester reckless driving attorneys at Simms Showers LLP understand how to defend against a variety of criminal charges. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free initial consultation.

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Contact the Leesburg, Winchester & Loudoun County Attorneys of Simms Showers LLP today

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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