What is reckless driving in Virginia?
Reckless driving under Virginia statute is a Class 1 Misdemeanor. This means that even though it is a driving offense, you have to treat it like a more serious criminal offense. It is not simply a speeding ticket that you should pay and move on with your life.
The statute defines Reckless Driving as someone who drives their 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.” VA Code § 46.2-862. To drive recklessly in Virginia is to have a “disregard for the driver of a motor vehicle for the consequences of his act and an indifference to the safety of life, limb, or property.” Powers v. Commonwealth, 211 Va. 386, 388 (1970).
What are the maximum penalties for reckless driving?
Reckless driving in Virginia is classified as a Class 1 Misdemeanor. A Class 1 Misdemeanor holds the following maximum punishments:
- Fines: Class 1 misdemeanors carry a fine of up to $2,500. However, the actual amount you will end up paying will vary depending on your specific situation including but not limited to: your record, your speed, the judge hearing your case, and the local court policy.
- Jail Time: Active jail time is an allowable penalty for a Class 1 Misdemeanor and it can be anywhere from 0-12 months. Jail time, much like the fines, will vary depending on your speed, your record, and the local rules. The higher your speed, the more likely jail time becomes.
- Suspended License: Many people who receive reckless driving tickets also face a great risk of having their license suspended.
- DMV points: A reckless driving charge will give you 6 driving points for a Virginia license.
- Criminal conviction: Virginia does not allow for expungements on most criminal conviction. This can have affects in many areas of your life including immigration status, security clearance, and background checks for employment.
Should I just plead guilty and pay my ticket?
Paying your ticket admits guilt and you will be convicted of a Class 1 Misdemeanor. You should consult an attorney to see the range of mitigating factors that can help you get a reduced punishment or charge reduction.
Consult with an Experienced Reckless Driving Attorney
Speaking to an attorney allows you to explore your specific circumstances surrounding your charge including but not limited to possible defenses, weaknesses in your case, reduced punishments, and even a reduced charge given your criminal and driving history.
Our office handles reckless driving cases across Northern Virginia state courts (Alexandria, Fairfax, Arlington, Prince William) and the Eastern District of Virginia federal district court. Contact the office today for a consultation regarding your reckless driving charge.