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What is Reckless Driving in Virginia?

by | February 8, 2021 | 0 comments

Many people view traffic violations as so insignificant that they don’t need an attorney. This is simply not the case. Even “minor” traffic violations impact your life and your personal record for years down the road. If you get a conviction, you might receive a fine over $1,000, see your insurance premiums drastically increase, and even serve jail time. At the Manassas Law Group, we’re here to explain why you need a reckless driving attorney, and why you need to take these violations seriously. 

What is the law for reckless driving in VA?

The Code of Virginia defines reckless driving as “driving 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.” It is not necessary that someone surpass the speed limit to drive recklessly. Reckless driving, while it does involve speeding, also includes other specific actions. It is considered a criminal offense, unlike normal speeding, which is a traffic infraction. Speeding in excess of 20 mph over the maximum speed limit or over 85 mph is reckless driving, not just speeding.

If law enforcement officers observe you performing any of the following actions, they have the right to arrest you.

  • Driving a car with faulty or poorly-adjusted brakes
  • Driving next to another vehicle while on a one-lane road
  • Failing to yield
  • Racing another vehicle
  • Driving too fast for the conditions of the highway
  • Driving a vehicle which is overloaded to the point of view obstruction
  • Failing to signal
  • Speeding 20 mph over the posted speed limit, or driving faster than 85 mph regardless of the posted speed limit
  • Spinning out your wheels
  • Endangering people or property in areas open to the public
  • Illegally passing in any of the following ways
    • On a hill or slope
    • Two vehicles at once
    • At an intersection
    • A school bus
    • While approaching or in a curve
    • At a railroad crossing
    • While pedestrians are around

Will reckless driving put points on my driving record?

If you are arrested for reckless driving, you may be charged with a class 1 misdemeanor. You may also receive up to 6 points on your driving record in Virginia if you are convicted. Speeding is only a traffic infraction, but reckless driving is a misdemeanor. It carries the same potential consequences as many misdemeanors, including jail time, and a permanent criminal record. At the Manassas Law Group, we pride ourselves on offering aggressive defense against alleged traffic violations and reckless driving. Call our reckless driving attorneys in Virginia today at 703-361-8246 for a free consultation on how to protect your driving record.

How serious is reckless driving in Virginia?

In Virginia, reckless driving is a class 1 misdemeanor. The penalties include 6 points on your driving record, up to 1 year in jail, a criminal record, up to $2,500 in fines, and up to 6 months of suspended driving privileges. In addition, you may also face increased car insurance rates, and no longer be eligible to rent a car. Convictions also affect government security clearance, as well as contract eligibility for law enforcement officers and military members. You also must disclose this conviction if you apply for U.S. citizenship.

While your judge evaluates your case, they consider any and all prior reckless driving convictions, your Virginia DMV point rating, your driving record, whether your reckless driving caused any injuries, and your demeanor before the court. If your charge results from racing another vehicle, you will face greater consequences. These increased penalties include a suspended license from driving for up to 2 years, and the possible seizure of your vehicle.

In certain situations, your reckless driving may be charged as a felony. For example, if a death results from racing, it is a class 6 felony. In this case, you will face a license suspension of anywhere from 1 to 3 years, along with up to 20 years in prison. If you are charged with reckless driving during a period in which your license is suspended or revoked, this is also a class 6 felony.

Is 85 mph reckless driving in Virginia?

Yes. Recently, Senate Bill 63 raised the reckless driving threshold to 85 mph from 80 mph. This means that exceeding 85 mph is considered reckless driving, regardless of the posted speed limit for that roadway.  Additionally, driving in excess of 20 mph over the maximum speed limit of a given area is reckless driving.

What happens if you speed over 100 mph?

If a law enforcement officer pulls you over for speeding in excess of 100 mph, the penalties are likely to be very severe. You are more likely to receive maximum penalties for this class 1 misdemeanor, as there are very few reasons that an officer or a judge will accept in terms of why you were driving so far over the speed limit. 

Whether or not someone receives jail time for exceeding 100 mph depends on a number of factors. The judge for your case will consider all of the following when determining whether or not to have you spend time in jail.

  • Your driving record
  • Any victims or injuries
  • Your attitude and appearance in court
  • How fast you were driving
  • Your attitude the officer/s while being arrested

Do I have to go to court if I got a reckless driving ticket?

In most cases, yes. As a general rule, most people charged with reckless driving must appear in court, either for an arraignment or a trial. This is due to the fact that it is a misdemeanor charge. Depending on specific situations, however, you might be able to have a reckless driving Virginia attorney appear on your behalf. 

Generally speaking, this can happen for defendants who did not exceed 100 mph or who did not drive more than 30 mph over the speed limit. It can also happen for out of state drivers. If you are nervous about your court date or are unsure about anything, you need an attorney. At the Manassas Law Group, we work hard for our clients all over Virginia, and help take away the stress of dealing with the criminal justice system.

Do you need a lawyer for reckless driving?

Absolutely. Because a reckless driving charge is likely to head to court, you need a Virginia traffic attorney from the Manassas Law Group. Even “minor” convictions affect your life and your record for years to come. We’ll help you defend against a conviction, resolve your charges, and walk you through the legal process. Don’t wait until you’re caught up in the confusing world of Virginia traffic laws. Call the Manassas Law Group today at 703-361-8246 for a free consultation.

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