Anyone who operates a motor vehicle agrees to abide by a set of laws governing how automobiles are used on the road. However, a reckless driving charge is different from many other moving violations; while the majority of automobile-related charges are infractions, or acts prohibited by law that are not crimes, reckless driving in Virginia is a criminal matter.
It cannot be resolved by simply paying a fine, though the charge may be accompanied by a fine in addition to other consequences such as jail time. To ensure that you do not commit any actions that may qualify as reckless driving in Virginia, you must first understand what constitutes a reckless driving charge.
Understanding Reckless Driving Laws In Virginia
The laws surrounding the proper operation of a motor vehicle do not directly identify which actions a person may perform that could be considered reckless. Instead, reckless driving is typically described as any action when operating an automobile that puts the lives, physical safety or property of another individual at risk. This may arise by performing certain acts such as passing someone in a no-passing zone, but it also includes driving over the posted speed limit.
Speeds Considered As Reckless Driving
Where speed is concerned, reckless driving is generally ascribed to any incident in which a person is speeding 20 miles per hour or greater over the posted speed limit. In addition to speeding, reckless driving may appear in the form of passing another driver in an area or manner that is illegal to do so, such as in a no-passing zone or using the shoulder.
A driver who fails to yield when another vehicle has the right of way may also be described as reckless, as could someone who engages in dangerous vehicular activities such as doing donuts in a parking lot or drag racing.
Other Activities Considered As Reckless Driving
Other types of automobile activities are less clear-cut but still carry the potential for reckless driving. Driving too fast in inclement weather or during heavy traffic may be considered reckless, as could driving a vehicle with brakes in need of repair or one that is too heavy.
These potential issues leave some gray area concerning what constitutes recklessness, which is why it is important to remain vigilant while on the road. If you have been charged with reckless driving, a skilled criminal defense attorney may be able to fight for reduced penalties based on the circumstances of your situation.
Reckless Driving Penalties In Virginia
Because a reckless driving charge is a criminal offense, it results in more severe penalties than civil infractions. Reckless driving is a Class 1 Misdemeanor, which appears on the individual’s criminal record and could impact areas such as employment. Additionally, the charge may come with a fine of up to $2500 and as much as one year in jail.
Because the charge is related to your driving record, you will also see negative effects on your license. Reckless driving is typically worth six points on your driver’s license, and your license may be suspended for up to six months. Any individual charged with reckless driving will carry that conviction on their driving record for 11 years.
Reducing The Penalties Of Reckless Driving
A reckless driving conviction can have a long-term impact on anyone’s life, both in terms of opportunities lost as a result of the license points and criminal record, and also due to the potential fines and jail time. A skilled criminal defense attorney can work with you to reduce the penalties of a reckless driving charge. Some factors may work in your favor to mitigate the charges, and in some cases, a legal expert may even be able to help you by convincing the court to drop the charges entirely.
Individuals who have an otherwise good driving record or who are completing driving school may be eligible to receive fewer penalties for reckless driving. If an attorney can prove that the vehicle’s speedometer was faulty or that a law enforcement officer’s radar gun was not calibrated, the case may be dropped or the penalties reduced.
Reach Out To An Experienced Virginia DUI Attorney
Anyone who has been charged with reckless driving should reach out to a legal professional as soon as possible after the incident. The Law Offices of Kermit A. Monge are available to assist those charged with reckless driving in preparation for their court appearance.
An experienced Virginia DUI attorney can help you gather critical evidence necessary to present to the court. Reach out to schedule a consultation with an attorney who can advocate for you in court and help you overcome a reckless driving charge with as few penalties as possible.