The Commonwealth of Virginia treats reckless driving as a severe traffic violation, whether the incident was intentional or due to neglect. Drivers who are charged with this offense can face serious legal consequences if found guilty, including fines, license suspensions, and jail time. There are a number of moving violations that constitute reckless driving in Virginia, and therefore it is important to understand what can lead to reckless driving charges.
What is Reckless Driving?
Anyone can be charged with reckless driving for unsafely operating a vehicle. In Virginia, this can be defined as risking or causing physical damage to a person or property, driving 20 MPH above the posted speed limit, or driving above 80 MPH regardless of the posted speed limit. The highest posted speed limit in the Commonwealth of Virginia is 70 MPH, so anyone driving 81 MPH or over on these roads can be cited for this charge. Any individual who exceeds 100 MPH will likely face jail time, and in some cases, it can be as low as 90 MPH.
Regardless of whether the traffic violation was willful or negligent, an individual can be issued a driving ticket for risking lives or properties while driving. This includes behavior that may only put yourself in danger, even when driving on an open road. Other dangerous activities on public roads, such as racing, illegally passing a school bus or emergency vehicle, driving with malfunctioning brakes, or crossing a double-yellow line to pass vehicles can all be cited for reckless driving in Virginia.
What are the Penalties?
The possible fines and penalties for reckless driving differ based on the magnitude of the incident. For example, going 81 MPH with a 70 MPH speed limit will likely result in less of an offense than willfully passing a school bus that is off-boarding children. A poor driving record or repeat offenses will likely increase the severity of the penalty. Virginia considers reckless driving to be a class 1 misdemeanor, which is the most serious type of misdemeanor in the state.
In Virginia, an individual found guilty of reckless driving may incur a fine not exceeding $2,500. The state DMV will cite a six-point violation on your driver’s license and may suspend it for up to 6 months. If you were charged in Virginia but reside in another state, the Virginia DMV may issue a driving suspension for up to 6 months in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Additionally, the DMV in your home state may suspend your license for up to 6 months as state DMV’s are in regular communication with one another.
Speak With a Virginia Traffic Defense Attorney
Reckless driving is not taken lightly in Virginia; however, since the strictest penalties are not guaranteed, it is advisable to work with a traffic defense attorney to reduce the punishment. If you received this charge in the Commonwealth of Virginia, reach out to the Law Offices of Kermit A. Monge, PLLC. Our experienced Virginia traffic defense attorneys will fight to reduce the severity of your penalties. For more information about reckless driving or to receive legal assistance, give us a call at 571.559.7229 or request a consultation online today.