By Tracy Manzer, Senior Editor of Content Aug. 28, 2014 Commuters who rely on the I-66 Corridor may rejoice as the Virginia Department of Transportation has announced it is working to transform 25 miles of the clogged roadway so that it will move traffic more efficiently. The problem, of course, is that those improvements are […]
What Is considered Reckless Driving In Virginia?
Everyone knows that a traffic violation, such as speeding, can result in a traffic ticket. Even the most law-abiding citizen can easily end up with a traffic ticket if they are unaware of the speed limit or make a simple mistake. However, in some cases, speeding or any other type of moving violation can lead to much more stringent penalties, including a criminal charge with potentially serious consequences.
Excessive speed—traveling more than 20 miles per hour above the posted speed limit or driving at more than 80 miles per hour regardless of the posted limit–is one traffic offense that can result in a criminal charge. Other examples of violations that could result in a criminal conviction include but are not limited to:
- Weaving through traffic or other aggressive driving
- Failing to yield to an emergency vehicle
- Passing a stopped school bus
- Drag racing
Simple carelessness or lack of attention can cause a number of these actions; they are not generally malicious or intentional. Still, traffic offenses that are considered dangerous to others often meet with reckless driving charges. For the accused, the prospect of jail and a criminal record seem unfathomable, especially for someone who has never run afoul of the law and whose actions were not deliberately reckless or dangerous. Your first step in protecting yourself from unjust or unnecessary consequences is calling a Virginia reckless driving attorney with the skills to handle your case.
Penalties For Reckless Driving
As a Class I misdemeanor offense, reckless driving is considered equivalent to driving under the influence (click here for more information on Virginia’s new DUI laws). Legal penalties for reckless driving in Virginia include up to one year in jail, a six-month driver’s license suspension, and a fine of up to $2,500.
A conviction for reckless driving also includes administrative penalties such as six demerit points against one’s driver’s license, which could lead to further suspension and exorbitant automobile insurance rates. If you were to accrue another reckless driving conviction and six more demerit points, you may have to complete a driving course in addition to the other punishments, and six more demerit points (for a total of 18) within a year could lead to a suspension of driving privileges. If you rely on your car to get to work each day, that could put you in a serious bind.
The personal consequences of a criminal conviction, besides the social stigma, include a permanent criminal record appearing in background checks for employment, housing, financial loans, and education.
Our reckless driving lawyers fully comprehend the seriousness of your charge. We understand that you likely did not intend to endanger others with your driving, and that you are surprised and confused that your traffic stop resulted in a criminal charge that could lead to jail time. We are experienced defense attorneys with countless hours before local judges and juries. We are committed to protecting the rights of those facing criminal charges for serious traffic violations in Virginia, and out skilled legal team stands ready to offer you sound advice and solid defense in your reckless driving case.
How A Reckless Driving Attorney Can Help You
Unlike with a typical traffic ticket, you cannot simply mail in your payment for a reckless driving summons. It is a criminal charge, and you may face conviction and additional penalties beyond the fine. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding your case, you do not have to plead guilty. You have alternatives for avoiding conviction, and a skilled attorney can help. In some cases, if you are represented by an attorney, he or she may appear in court on your behalf, saving you the time and hassle of a court appearance, which is particularly useful if you are an out-of-state driver charged with reckless driving in Virginia.
If you were just traveling through the Commonwealth of Virginia from a state that does not issue reckless driving tickets and arrests in the same manner, it may be difficult to understand or anticipate what type of charge you are facing or the penalties that you could be facing with a conviction. You will also need to face that charge in Virginia, so it is smart to hire a local Virginia reckless driving attorney who has experience dealing with this type of case and getting their clients positive results. Our team includes a former Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney, which gives us great insight into the ways that these cases are typically prosecuted.
Though the facts of every case are unique, our attorneys have a proven record of success in complicated cases, working diligently for a positive outcome that may include dismissal, acquittal, or reduction in charges or penalties.