Operating a motor vehicle requires adherence to laws, such as abiding by the speed limit, driving only when not under the influence of alcohol or drugs and other important laws governing the safety of the roads. However, certain activities on the road are grouped together under the charge of reckless driving, which is not limited to speeding.
If you have been charged with reckless driving, you may wonder how long your record will reflect this if you are convicted. In order to get a better idea of what timeline to expect, you must first understand what constitutes reckless driving and how an attorney can assist you in reducing the potential negative consequences.
What Qualifies As Reckless Driving In Virginia?
Reckless driving is a broad term for a number of actions occurring while operating a motor vehicle on a public road. One of the most common ways of being charged with reckless driving is by speeding; however, going over the speed limit and reckless driving are not interchangeable.
Speeding is a traffic infraction, but reckless driving is a misdemeanor that specifically arises if you are driving at a speed greater than 20 miles per hour above the posted maximum speed limit, or if you are driving more than 80 miles per hour regardless of the limit. However, reckless driving is not limited only to excessive speed, and it can apply in other circumstances as well.
In addition to speeding, other activities that are considered an endangerment to the life or safety of others, or the property of others, may be categorized as reckless. These can include driving too fast for the current road conditions or inclement weather, illegally passing another vehicle, operating a vehicle that is overloaded in weight or that obstructs the view of you or others, intentionally spinning your automobile’s wheels (breaking traction) or even failing to use proper turn signal indicators.
Failing to yield the right of way, merging in a dangerous manner or operating your vehicle unsafely on a one-way or one-lane road can also result in this charge. A reckless driving charge is subjective based upon the conditions and circumstances at the time of the event, which means that even activities not listed among these common violations may still qualify.
What Are The Potential Penalties For Reckless Driving?
Reckless driving is a Class 1 misdemeanor, which can mean you will receive 6 points on your Virginia driver’s record, and you may be required to serve up to 12 months in jail. You may also be required to pay a fine not to exceed $2500, and your driver’s license may be suspended for up to 6 months. While you are not guaranteed to receive all of these penalties at the same time, it is possible that you will be responsible for all, or any combination, of them simultaneously depending upon the details of your case.
Certain behaviors can lead to more severe consequences; if you were specifically charged with reckless driving as a result of racing, your license suspension could extend for up to 2 years instead. Your vehicle may also be seized, and this seizure may be permanent. Because reckless driving can be subjective based upon the situation at the time, the penalties upon conviction may vary.
How Long Does Reckless Driving Stay On Your Record?
In Virginia, the most common period of time that a reckless driving charge typically stays on a record is 11 years. A traffic attorney can advocate on your behalf to reduce the penalties in your case if possible. Securing a reduced charge for your reckless driving event may impact how long the incident is visible on your record, with less severe charges remaining for fewer years.
This can have a significant impact on your long-term ability to perform vehicle-related tasks such as secure affordable auto insurance, recover from license suspension or even acquire other driving permits such as CDLs.
Choosing A Defense Attorney For Your Reckless Driving Charge
A reckless driving conviction is a criminal matter that can impact not only your personal criminal record but also your driving history. This is why many individuals elect not to represent themselves but rather to rely on traffic and defense attorneys to advocate on their behalf.
The attorneys at The Law Offices of Kermit A. Monge will help you understand your options and present a strategy to reduce your reckless driving charge if possible. Reach out to schedule a consultation to discuss the potential next steps in your case and reduce any penalties as possible for your situation.