Navigating Reckless Driving Charges in VA
January 4, 2021 by GKwriter
In Virginia, reckless driving is a class 1 misdemeanor and could result in you having your license revoked. When facing reckless driving charges, you have many choices:
- Plead guilty and accept the charges
- Try to negotiate the sentencing on your own
- Hire an attorney and build a defense case
But with high stakes, it’s best to choose to hire an attorney to represent you if you’re facing reckless driving charges.
What is reckless driving in Virginia?
Reckless driving is a term that encompasses 14 driving maneuvers or failure to comply with posted signage. If you’re convicted of reckless driving, the charges will remain on your driving record for 11 years.
The most common reckless driving charges in Virginia come from speeding. What you need to keep in mind about reckless driving is that it’s not only a driving citation but a criminal offense.
And as a criminal offense, reckless driving could carry with it a sentence to time in prison. You could face up to a year in prison, six points on your driver’s license and a fine of up to $2,500. Generally speaking though, jail time is not considered unless the police officer pulls you over for speeds of 90 mph or more.
Because reckless driving is a criminal charge, you cannot avoid court. Unlike other moving violations where you just send in your signed ticket and pay your fine, you must appear in court on your scheduled date when you’re facing reckless driving charges. There is no way for you to pre-pay your citation for reckless driving.
In some rare cases, reckless driving charges can be increased to a felony charge. This generally happens if your reckless actions kill someone. You should hire a skilled traffic offense attorney to avoid jail time in reckless driving charges that involve injuries or death.
What constitutes reckless driving in Virginia?
There are 14 categories for reckless driving in Virginia. Some are pretty clear while others might not be as apparent to you. Here’s a breakdown of each one and what you need to know.
- Driving in excess of 85 mph – no matter the posted speed limit, if you’re caught going 85 mph or faster, you’ll get a reckless driving charge.
- Speeding 20 mph or more above the posted speed limit.
- Passing or overtaking an emergency vehicle when its lights are illuminated or sirens are on.
- Passing a school bus when it is stopped and has its signs and lights illuminated making it clear that children are boarding or disembarking from the bus.
- Passing another car while on the crest of a hill
- Passing at a railroad crossing
- Passing two vehicles abreast – except on highways with separate roadways of three or more lanes for each direction or designated one-way streets where three lanes are going one direction.
- Driving two vehicles abreast in a lane designed for one car.
- Driving too fast for conditions, such as snow or rain that makes the roadways treacherous.
- Failing to give a proper signal, such as turning, stopping or slowing down.
- Faulty brakes/improper control
- Reckless driving in parking lots
- Driving with an obstructed view
Should I hire a lawyer for Virginia reckless driving charges?
We highly recommend that you hire a lawyer when facing reckless driving charges. That’s because, with criminal charges, the course of the case could change and end up being more severe than you realized.
You want to have an attorney at your side throughout the proceeding to ensure you don’t incriminate yourself or increase the severity of the situation in any way.
Some people have a misconception about pleading guilty. Pleading guilty does not mean that the judge will ease your sentencing. While some judges might look kindly on those who choose to plead guilty, others will not. You just never know what sort of situation you’re getting yourself into. It’s best to proceed with caution by hiring a Virginia traffic offense attorney.
Additionally, pleading guilty to reckless driving automatically means six points against your license. Depending on the other related traffic offenses you were ticketed for at the same time, you could lose your license. Drivers that get 18 points against their license within a 12-month period will automatically have their license suspended.
To avoid serious penalties from reckless driving charges, contact Gore & Kuperman. Our team will guide you through the legal process and protect your rights.