What to Know About Reckless Driving in Northern Virginia

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by | September 28, 2021

5 Things to Know about Reckless Driving

Reckless Driving is a Class 1 Misdemeanor.

Reckless Driving is a criminal offense. It is not a ticket. A conviction for reckless driving will result in a criminal record.

Reckless Driving Can Carry a Fine and Possible Jailtime

If convicted, possible sentences include a fine of up to $2,500.00 and/or up to a year in jail. In reality, the stakes are generally much lower. In most cases, jail is not really on the table. However, if the speed is high enough in a residential area, or if the speed approaches or exceeds 100 M.P.H, a weekend in jail becomes a real possibility. This possibility is heightened by subsequent offenses. While a fine of $2,500 would be out of the ordinary, fines can regularly be $250 or more.

Reckless Driving Carries 6 DMV Points

Aside from criminal punishment, Reckless Driving is a 6-Point offense. For some context, the maximum amount of points on your license is +5. Certain driving offenses then deduct points from your license, which can affect insurance and can effect if you are given lenience for future offenses. A reckless driving will result in negative points, even if you have a clean record beforehand.

There Are Things You Can Do To Help Your Case

There are resolutions to be had, though. While each jurisdiction tends to handle these cases in their own way, there are still common steps and outcomes to consider.

First, you may want to get your speedometer calibrated at a Virginia auto-shop. In some circumstances, this may show that your speedometer was wrong, and that it was actually telling you that you were going a slower speed. This is common when your vehicle has been modified, especially if you had added larger wheels. While this won’t necessary make the problem go away, it can show that you were less culpable than you otherwise might have been.

Second, it may be advisable to take a Driver’s Improvement Course prior to the trial for your charge. While these are frequently ordered by the Court anyway, it shows initiative to have already completed the course, and can help justify a more favorable outcome.

There Are Alternative Resolutions to Explore

An ideal outcome would be to work with a prosecutor to dismiss your charge. This option may be practicable in certain cases. For cases where this is not an option, there are other resolutions that may be available that are still favorable, though.

First, in some jurisdictions, Reckless Driving will be reduced to simple speeding. There will still be a fine, and DMV points. But both will be less than if you were convicted of Reckless Driving.

Second, there is an Infraction called “Improper Driving.” This offense is not a criminal offense. It exists in the Code only as an alternative to Reckless Driving. Which is to say, you cannot originally be cited for Improper Driving. There are two ways to get this result. First, the prosecutor may amend your charge to Improper Driving after negotiations. Second, if the case cannot be worked out ahead of time, you can take the case to trial. If you are found guilty at trial, your attorney can ask the Court to find you guilty of Improper Driving instead of Reckless. This is done by putting on evidence that you are minimally culpable. This is generally a combination of explaining what was happening when you were charged – why you were driving too fast, as well as any other mitigating evidence, such as your speedometer being miscalibrated, your satisfactory driving history, and if you voluntarily took a Driver’s Improvement Course.

Hire a Lawyer for your Reckless Driving Charge in Northern Virginia

Our Client-Focused Criminal Defense team is experienced with Reckless Driving cases throughout Northern Virginia, including Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, Prince William County, Loudoun County, and the U.S District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. Contact us to learn how we can help you.