It is important to understand the differences between a speeding ticket and a reckless driving ticket in Virginia. In this review, we discuss both violations, highlight the differences with each, and discuss how an attorney can help you with your case.
What Is a Speeding Ticket in Virginia?
A speeding ticket in Virginia is a common traffic infraction that states that the individual was driving above the speed limit. You can be cited for speeding if you are driving as little as five miles per hour over the speed limit. If you are driving more than 20 miles above the speed limit, then you will likely be charged with a reckless driving ticket in Virginia (see below).
Speeding tickets in Virginia usually only result in a fine and points on your driver’s license. Specifically, they typically result in four points added to your license, which can have a negative impact on your insurance premium cost and may result in a suspended license if you have several other infractions in recent years.
Most speeding tickets can be paid online and do not require a court visit unless you intend to plead not guilty to the traffic infraction, in which case a visit to traffic court is likely necessary.
What Is Reckless Driving in Virginia?
Reckless driving is a more serious charge. It could be related to speeding, such as driving more than 20 mph over the speed limit. However, reckless driving could be related to other actions as well, such as running stop signs and/or red lights, weaving in and out of lanes on the highway, ignoring other drivers, and tailgating.
According to Virginia.gov, reckless driving is defined as follows: “irrespective of the maximum speeds permitted by law, any person who drives a vehicle on any highway recklessly or at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person shall be guilty of reckless driving.” Reckless driving is a class one misdemeanor offense that carries the potential for jail time, six or more points on your driver’s license, and hefty fines.
What Are The Differences Between a Speeding and Reckless Driving Ticket in Virginia?
There are key differences between a speeding and reckless driving ticket in Virginia. In simplest terms, a reckless driving ticket carries a more serious penalty than a speeding ticket. Below is a more detailed look at several key differences between the two.
Reckless Driving Is a More Serious Offense
Of course, the primary difference is in regard to the severity of the offense; a reckless driving ticket is a criminal offense. Specifically, a reckless driving offense is a class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia. This offense is punishable by up to 12 months in jail and fines of up to $1,000. On the other hand, a speeding ticket in Virginia does not carry any possible jail time and a maximum fine in most cases is only $250.
You May Accrue More Points on Your License With a Reckless Driving Ticket
Drivers also receive more points on their driver’s license if they are found guilty of reckless driving than if they are given a speeding ticket. In most cases, a reckless driving penalty adds between four and six points to your driver’s license.
In contrast, speeding tickets usually only add two or three points. This is important as points on your license can lead to higher insurance premiums. Also, if you accrue too many points, then your license may be suspended.
You Will Have a Criminal Record if Found Guilty of Reckless Driving
Speeding tickets are not a criminal offense. Therefore, they do not show up on your permanent record. A reckless driving offense is criminal and does show up on your permanent record. This means you may be asked about the violation during job interviews, when obtaining housing, and in other areas of life.
The Role of an Attorney Speeding or Reckless Driving Cases
You need reasonable doubt to have your charge reduced or dismissed in court. Your lawyer helps you reveal reasonable doubt if you are found guilty of speeding or reckless driving. For example, your attorney may be able to cross examine the police officer in an attempt to reveal that there is a good chance that you were not driving recklessly.
In other cases, the attorney may be able to persuade the judge to provide a more lenient sentence if the evidence is against you.
Speak With a Licensed Attorney at The Law Offices of Kermit A. Monge
The Law Offices of Kermit A. Monge is here to assist you if you were cited for speeding or reckless driving. During a consultation, we are happy to answer your initial questions and concerns and provide legal guidance as you determine the best course of action to minimize the impact the ticket has on your future. Get in touch today to get started.