What are Several Common Penalties for Reckless Driving in Virginia?
Under Virginia law, reckless driving is a criminal offense that involves dangerous behavior on the roads. Generally speaking, reckless driving occurs when a driver creates a risk of property damage, physical injury, or death. Though Virginia law also establishes many specific types of reckless driving, such as operating a vehicle with faulty brakes.
The punishment for reckless driving often fluctuates based on the individual circumstances of that particular case. But commonly, reckless driving offenders will be subject to the following penalties.
- Jail or Prison Time
Reckless driving offenses typically result in Class 1 misdemeanor charges under Code of Virginia Section 46.2-868. If convicted for this class of misdemeanor, a reckless driving offender can face up to 12 months in county jail.
On the other hand, Section 46.2-868 also categorizes certain reckless driving offenses involving fatalities as Class 6 felonies. If convicted for this class of felony, a reckless driving offender can face up to 60 months in prison.
- Criminal Fines
Whether a person faces misdemeanor or felony charges under Section 46.2-868, the fine structure is typically the same. In either case, a reckless driving offender can face a maximum of $2,500 in criminal fines.
That being said, Section 46.2-868 also outlines a mandatory minimum fine for certain reckless driving offenses. If a person commits reckless driving and distracted driving at the same time, then they will face a minimum of $250 in criminal fines.
- License Suspension
Reckless driving offenders are also subject to driver’s license suspension under Code of Virginia Section 46.2-392. The suspension period for reckless driving offenses is at least 10 days with a maximum of six months.
If a reckless driving offense involves the death of another person, then there is a different suspension requirement under Code of Virginia Section 46.2-396. In these cases that result in a fatality, the Virginia courts may order driver’s license suspension for a maximum of 12 months.
Though in certain cases — such as financial hardship — the offender may qualify for a restricted driving permit during the suspension period. These permits allow a person to operate a motor vehicle, but only under limited circumstances.
- Alcohol Safety Action Program
If a reckless driving offense involves alcohol or drug consumption, the Virginia courts may require substance abuse treatment. Under the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASAP), reckless driving offenders receive treatment and training for substance abuse.
- Criminal Record
A misdemeanor or felony conviction for reckless driving also goes onto the offender’s criminal record. These records are part of the public record and available to employers, landlords, and other interested parties. Correspondingly, any person with a criminal record can experience difficulties with employment, housing, and related matters.
Let Us Help You Today
If you have legal questions about reckless driving in Virginia, it can be decidedly beneficial to consult with a trustworthy criminal defense attorney. The Winchester reckless driving attorneys at Simms Showers LLP have time-tested experience in the field of criminal defense, including reckless driving offenses. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free initial consultation.