As experienced traffic offense lawyers, we encounter various questions regarding driving laws. The most common question is, ‘What is considered reckless driving in Virginia?’
Reckless driving in Virginia is legally defined as operating a car on the highway at 20 miles per hour or more above the designated speed limit or driving above 85 mph, regardless of the posted speed limit. You can also be charged with reckless driving by illegally passing, drag racing, ignoring traffic signals or signs, and operating dangerous vehicles (like those with bad brakes).
Knowing what constitutes reckless driving is important, but you should also know the consequences of violating these Virginia reckless driving laws.
Will I go to jail for reckless driving?
A reckless driving ticket is a more serious offense than a regular speeding ticket. It’s considered a criminal offense with serious potential consequences, including jail time if convicted.
As a misdemeanor offense, it leaves you with a criminal record and can result in:
- Time in jail
- A fine
- License suspension
- Increased car insurance rates
- Six demerit points
- A permanent criminal record
Reckless driving because of drag racing is considered a Class 6 Felony if it results in the injury of an individual not involved in the race. If it results in the death of a pedestrian, you can get between one and twenty years in jail and a license suspension for 1-3 years.
You can also get a Class 6 felony if you drive with a revoked or suspended license and cause the death of a pedestrian.
Can I represent myself for reckless driving in VA?
While anyone can represent themselves in a criminal case, it’s not advisable. Reckless driving laws in Virginia are complex, and you can face harsh penalties if convicted.
Some courts and judges treat you differently depending on the circumstances surrounding your arrest. Some judges are lenient and might reduce the charge, while others are harsh. Some judges can also give a good deal when you have a clean driving record. But you shouldn’t put your fate in the hands of the mood or feelings of a judge by representing yourself.
You should consult a reckless driving lawyer once you receive the summons or ticket. Our experienced Virginia traffic defense lawyer will evaluate the case, negotiate with the prosecutor, or prepare a strong defense.
Hiring a reckless driving attorney is especially beneficial for out-of-state drivers. Many courts allow you to have legal representation, hence missing some or all of your hearings. However, some speeds require you to attend court hearings. Your attorney will offer legal advice on the best procedure, depending on the circumstances of your case.
How much does hiring a lawyer for reckless driving in VA cost?
The cost of hiring a lawyer for reckless driving in Virginia can vary widely depending on several factors. These factors may include the complexity of your case, the lawyer’s experience and reputation, the location of the court where your case will be heard, and the specific legal fees charged by the attorney.
Generally, you can expect to pay anywhere from $1500 – $2000 for legal representation in a reckless driving case in Virginia.
What are some good reckless driving defense strategies?
Some common defense strategies for a traffic offense charge include:
- The defendant wasn’t operating the motor vehicle
The charges may get dropped if the prosecution cannot prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant was driving the motor vehicle during the incident. The attorney can argue that the defendant let another person borrow their vehicle or they were a passenger during the stop. It could be the defendant wasn’t present during the stop, and the driver lied to the police officers about their identity.
- The driving might have been careless or negligent, but it wasn’t reckless
Drivers are required to drive with reasonable care, failure to which they are termed negligent. Negligent drivers don’t intend for accidents to occur, but reckless drivers act intentionally, resulting in accidents. Reckless driving implies willful contempt for Virginia law and pedestrian safety. The attorney can argue that the actions were negligent, not reckless.
- The device used was improperly calibrated or wrongly used
LIDAR and Radar devices should be calibrated and used correctly. The prosecution bears the burden of proving the equipment detected the speed accurately and the device is in good condition.
- The defendant was driving recklessly for a good reason
The attorney can show that the defendant was forced to drive recklessly. They could prove you had an emergency or you were under duress.
What is aggressive driving vs. reckless driving?
The main difference is that reckless driving involves unsafe driving, while aggressive driving involves unsafe driving to scare or harass other drivers (road rage).
Hire a professional Virginia reckless driving attorney – Keefer Law Firm
With so much at stake with reckless driving charges, it becomes critical to have expert guidance. The penalties associated with a reckless driving conviction can be severe, making it all the more essential to understand the depth and complexity of the situation.
The experienced attorney at Keefer Law Firm offers great advice and defense. Attorney Bob Keefer has vast knowledge of traffic law, ensuring a comprehensive, strategic approach tailored to your case. Don’t let a reckless driving charge leave a lasting impact on your life without a fight. Contact Keefer Law Firm today and let us assist in crafting your best possible defense.