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Overview of Reckless Driving in Virginia


Reckless driving in Virginia is considered a class 1 misdemeanor, which means that it is a criminal charge which can have long-term consequences. If you’ve been charged with reckless driving, you need to meet with a skilled Virginia criminal defense attorney who can build you the best defense and get the charges reduced or thrown out completely.

What Constitutes Reckless Driving 

People often think reckless driving is just exceeding the speed limit, but Virginia has over 10 different types of reckless driving. General reckless driving is defined as someone who drives their vehicle “recklessly or at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person,” no matter what the posted speed limit is. Factors that influence the case include the location where you received the ticket, your current driving record, whether your speedometer was calibrated correctly, and how much over the speed limit you were traveling.

Different types of reckless driving charges include:

  • Failure to Yield Right of Way (§46.2-863)
  • Racing (§46.2-864,865)
  • Driving Too Fast for Traffic Conditions (§46.2-861)
  • Passing When View is Obstructed (§46.2-854)
  • Passing a Stopped School Bus (§46.2-859)
  • Failure to Maintain Control or Faulty Brakes (§46.2-853)
  • Two Vehicles in One Lane (§46.2-857)
  • Car Overloaded (§46.2-855)
  • Passing Two Vehicles Abreast (§46.2-856)
  • Failure to Give Proper Signals (§46.2-860)
  • Passing at an Intersection or Railroad Grade Crossing (§46.2-858)

Maximum Penalties for Reckless Driving in Virginia 

In Virginia, a conviction for reckless driving carries several penalties. The maximum for these penalties are:

  • Six months suspension of your driver’s license
  • Fine of $2,500
  • Six points on your Virginia DMV record
  • 12 months in jail

While these are the maximum penalties for a class 1 misdemeanor, it doesn’t mean the court will go light on you. Even if you are a first-time offender, the judge can still sentence you to the maximum jail time and fine if the circumstances of your case are extraordinary. The court will look at the specifics of your case and make a determination off the facts.

Judges also have the discretion to reduce the charges, or even dismiss them in some instances depending on the situation.

Long-Term Consequences of Reckless Driving 

The immediate consequences of a reckless driving conviction in Virginia aren’t all you need to worry about. Some of the issues you can face down the line include:

  • Permanent criminal record
  • Hike in insurance rates
  • Job loss
  • Potential security clearance issues

With a possible six points on your driving record, you run the risk of a license suspension if you receive additional points for another violation.

Retaining a Virginia Criminal Defense Attorney 

Reckless driving charges aren’t to be taken lightly. If you received a reckless driving ticket in Virginia, you may be issued a summons for a first appearance or trial date. If you fail to appear, the court may issue a warrant for your arrest. This is why it’s important to retain a knowledgeable Virginia criminal defense attorney as soon as you receive the ticket. Contact the attorneys at Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy PC in Leesburg. Let us prepare the best defense possible in an attempt to get your reckless driving charges reduced or dismissed.


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Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy PC maintains an office in Loudoun County in the Town of Leesburg. We welcome inquiries from throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia and beyond.

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