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Loudoun County Attorneys > Blog > Auto Accident > Reckless Driving is a Serious Charge in Virginia

Reckless Driving is a Serious Charge in Virginia

Reckless Driving is a Serious Charge in Virginia

Virginia has a well-earned reputation for taking reckless driving seriously.  In fact, one of the most common class 1 misdemeanor charges in the Northern Virginia jurisdictions of Loudoun, Fairfax, Prince William, and Arlington Counties is reckless driving.  Reckless driving is not the same as a speeding ticket which can be pre-paid.  Instead, reckless driving is a charge with far greater consequences than your typical speeding ticket.  In recent years, professional athletes and other prominent individuals have even found themselves facing jail time and the loss of the ability to drive for reckless driving in Virginia.[1]

The most common reckless driving charge is reckless driving by speed:

§ 46.2-862. Exceeding speed limit.

A person shall be guilty of reckless driving who drives a motor vehicle on the highways in the Commonwealth (i) at a speed of 20 miles per hour or more in excess of the applicable maximum speed limit or (ii) in excess of 80 miles per hour regardless of the applicable maximum speed limit.

If you exceed a speed of 80 mph in Virginia, you can be charged with reckless driving.  Similarly, it is also considered reckless driving to exceed the speed limit by 20 mph or more. Therefore, if you are driving 75 mph in a 55 mph speed zone, you may be charged with reckless driving by speed.

Since all reckless driving charges are class 1 misdemeanors, you could face up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2500.  Your license may also be suspended for up to 6 months in Virginia.  This criminal conviction is permanent and would stay on your driving record for 11 years.

Types of reckless driving

There are at least 14 ways a driver in Virginia can be charged with reckless driving.  The most common include reckless driving by speed and general reckless driving (typically seen in accident cases).  Even passing a school bus illegally or passing a vehicle on a curve can be charged as misdemeanor reckless driving in Virginia.

Reckless driving charges are class 1 misdemeanors that put the driver at risk of serving a maximum 12-month jail sentence, paying a maximum fine of $2500, and/or losing the ability to drive for 6 months.  Additionally, there can be collateral consequences from a class 1 misdemeanor conviction including loss of employment, security clearances, or immigration status.

How can a Virginia reckless driving attorney help you?

A Virginia reckless driving attorney can help you prepare for court and complete the necessary driver improvement classes that could help reduce your charges.  In preparation for court, you want to do everything possible to get your charges reduced from the level of class 1 misdemeanor to the level of simple traffic infraction with a fine.

In more serious cases where one is accused of causing an accident with injuries or driving above 90 mph, an experienced Virginia reckless driving attorney can assist you in avoiding the more serious punishments associated with reckless driving, including jail time and a loss of license in Virginia.

Moreover, if you are prepared to take your case to trial, a Virginia reckless driving attorney can help you challenge the evidence and seek a reduced punishment through either a bench or jury trial.

At Simms Showers LLP, our experienced reckless driving attorneys Caleb A. Kershner and William B. Mann have achieved great results in numerous reckless driving trials throughout Northern Virginia and are available to answer your specific questions.

By William B. Mann | Published May 18, 2015 | Posted in criminal defense | Tagged misdemeanors, reckless driving |

[1] See http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/crime/nationals-jason-werth-pleads-guilty-to-reckless-driving-gets-5-days-in-jail/2015/01/29/0049a229-6b9c-443e-92da-9257579b60e3_story.html

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