Virginia takes a hard line on reckless driving cases. Reckless driving in Virginia is classified as a class 1 misdemeanor, and a conviction means a permanent criminal record and some potentially harsh penalties.
So, how many miles over the speed limit is reckless driving?
If you are driving over 85 miles per hour or if you are 20 or more miles per hour over the posted speed limit. For example, 86 mph in a 70 mph zone is reckless driving; 45 mph in a 25 mph zone is reckless driving in Virginia.
Depending on the facts of your case and your driving record, a Virginia Reckless Driving conviction can carry jail time, loss of license, fines, and court costs.
Penalty for Reckless Driving in Virginia
In Virginia, the maximum financial penalty for reckless driving is up to a $2,500 fine, 12 months in jail, and 6 months loss of license and court costs.
Depending on the facts of your case, your speed, and your driving record, a Court may suspend your right to drive in Virginia after a conviction for reckless driving. At the Court’s discretion, a restricted license may be provided to you. With a restricted license, you would be allowed to drive to certain locations at specific times. Examples of events where you would be allowed to drive are doctor visits, dropping off and picking up children at school, court appearances, and community service.
A restricted license does not allow you to drive wherever you choose; it allows you to drive wherever the Court specifically permits in terms of the restricted license.
Increase in Your Insurance Premium
A conviction for reckless driving may cause a significant increase in your automobile insurance costs. The amount of the increase will depend on your driving record, your insurance company, and the specific terms of your insurance policy.
Different Judges may employ their own math in setting your fine. It will probably depend on your driving record, the facts of the case, and the usual practices in the relevant jurisdiction.
In Virginia, you have 30 days at minimum to pay your bill, or you can ask the court for an extension.
Virginia also has a complex point system for drivers. In this system, everyone starts with zero points. Every year that passes, where the driver has no tickets, they will get one point up to a maximum of five-plus points.
Unfortunately, reckless driving places the highest number of demerit points against you. If you’re found guilty of reckless driving, the DMV will assess six demerit points to your driving record. This demerit will stay on your record for 11 years.
Receiving too many demerit points will cause the DMV to suspend your license altogether or send you to a driver improvement clinic. If you have a license in another state, Virginia will send a report to your home state. Your home state’s DMV will determine whether it will stay on your record, the number of demerit points, and how long those points will remain on your driving record.
Can You Go to Jail for Reckless Driving?
If you end up receiving a ticket for reckless driving, you may be concerned about potentially receiving jail time in Virginia. This depends on your prosecutor, local judge, and the facts of your case. Since it may vary based on the county you were charged in, you should speak with Attorney Bob Keefer who has practiced traffic ticket defense in Virginia since 1983.
Traveling 85 mph or 90 mph usually doesn’t justify going to jail in most judges’ eyes.
In Virginia, reckless driving is categorized as a misdemeanor offense, meaning that unlike just receiving a speeding ticket and warning, this is a crime that could warrant jail time.
Is it likely that you will receive jail time?
Frankly, most reckless driving cases don’t lead to jail time unless you have egregious facts or have a record of high-speed cases. Prosecutors and judges look for these things when deciding whether or not to give you jail time. It’s best to discuss with Attorney Keefer, who has experience with traffic cases, to discuss the potential outcomes.
Most people don’t realize that receiving a traffic violation in Virginia means you’ll have a criminal record. This means if you are ever asked on a security clearance or criminal background check whether or not you have been convicted, you must answer “yes.” Unfortunately, these criminal charges stay with you forever, unlike the driving record. You will not be able to remove this off your record if the court convicts you.
How to Get a Reckless Driving Charge Dropped
If you’ve already received a ticket for reckless driving, you may be wondering how do I get out of it? There are a few methods you can do.
Could you ignore it?
Ignoring the charge is an option you have, but not a good one. It usually leads to you being found guilty for reckless driving as a misdemeanor. If you’re lucky, you will only receive a conviction and fine when you fail to appear showing up. However, in a worst-case scenario, the judge can issue a warrant to arrest you.
Appear in Court by Yourself
Some people appear in court by themselves. Unfortunately, you will not know the usual practices of the Judge, the Prosecutor, and the Officer. This is a serious charge, and you need a lawyer who knows the Court practices to protect your interests.
Hire a Lawyer to Dispute the Charge
Hiring an experienced Virginia traffic ticket lawyer allows you to achieve your best possible outcome. You want an experienced lawyer who knows the judge, the prosecutor, the officer, and the clerks. Attorney Bob Keefer has been fighting traffic tickets in Virginia for over 30 years. Bob is familiar with each county’s proceedings, prosecutors, and judges.
Being charged for reckless driving is a serious issue, especially in the state of Virginia. If you have been charged but not convicted, you still have some options to help you reduce the penalties or even get out of the charge. Call Keefer Law Firm today for your free consultation at (540) 433-6906!