Do I Need a Virginia Attorney for a Reckless Driving Charge?
The state of Virginia is one of the strictest states when it comes to reckless driving. A reckless driving charge can net you hefty fines, can result in the your driver’s license being suspended and can carry criminal penalties as well. If you get a ticket for reckless driving, you need to immediately contact a Virginia criminal defense attorney who has ample experience in reckless driving cases.
Reckless Driving as Defined by Virginia Code
The Code of Virginia § 46.2-852 defines reckless driving as,
“Irrespective of the maximum speeds permitted by law, any person who drives a 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 shall be guilty of reckless driving.”
What this essentially means is that you can be driving at the posted speed limit and still be charged for reckless driving if the conditions warranted you to slow down, for instance due to a road hazard, inclement weather, construction, etc.
Reckless Driving Speeding Law
Virginia Code § 46.2-862 is the reckless driving speeding law, which states that anyone who drives on a Virginia highway and exceeds the posted speed limit by 20 miles per hour or more; or drives at a speed in excess of 80 miles per hour, is guilty of reckless speeding.
Penalties for Reckless Driving
Reckless driving is considered a criminal offense and a class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia. Penalties can include:
- Fines and related court costs
- Potential jail time
- Driver’s license suspension
- Points on your driving record
If you are charged with a speed that exceeds 90 miles per hour, you may receive time in jail for each mile per hour you were over, and if you are charged with driving at 100 miles per hour or more, you can possibly be sentenced to serve much more.
In some rare instances, you may be facing felony charges under Virginia Code § 46.2-865.1. These cases are limited to matters involving a race that shows disregard for human life. If the driver causes serious bodily injury to someone who is not involved in the race, it is a Class 6 felony. If you kill another person, you will be facing imprisonment for at least a year, but not more than 20 years.
Long-Term Effects of Reckless Driving Conviction
Aside from the obvious immediate effects of court fines that can reach up to $2,500 and potential jail time, there are long-term repercussions that you need to consider as well. Your driver’s license suspension could be lengthy, perhaps up to six months. Depending on the terms of the suspension, you may not be able to get back and forth to work.
The added points on your driver’s license can cause your insurance rates to rise, and the points can remain on your record for the long-term. Years of expensive insurance premiums can be catastrophic for most people.
If you’re imprisoned, you could lose your job. Even if you don’t lose your current job, you will still have a criminal charge on your record. This could have very negative effects on future job hunting efforts, as you will likely have to disclose a criminal offense on your application.
If you’re facing reckless driving charges, contact Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy at 703-997-4982. Let our Leesburg reckless driving attorneys prepare the best defense to get these charges dropped or reduced.