Virginia Reckless Driving and CDL Drivers

An experienced reckless driving attorney in Virginia can provide information about reckless driving and CDL drivers if you have been charged. Your attorney can help you to fight the accusations and try to avoid conviction or reduce the penalties associated with being found guilty of reckless driving.

If you have a commercial driver’s license (CDL), a conviction for reckless driving could mean an untimely end of your career. You need to fight the criminal charges you face when you are accused of driving recklessly. You can face serious consequences not only for allegedly driving in a reckless manner while operating your commercial vehicle but also for driving recklessly while in your personal car.

Federal Rules for Reckless Driving and CDL Drivers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) establishes national regulations applicable to most commercial drivers in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  The FMCSA considers reckless driving to be a “serious violation.”   Receiving two serious violations within a period of three years can result in a 60-day disqualification from operating a commercial motor vehicle.  A third serious violation results in a 120-day disqualification.

The FMCSA does not provide its own definition of reckless driving but instead makes clear that the state or local definition of reckless driving applies. In Virginia, the general definition of reckless driving is found in Virginia Code Section 46.2-852.  Under this statute, reckless driving includes excessive speeding and operating a motor vehicle in a manner that creates a risk to life, limb, and/or property.  Virginia also has other statutes expanding the definition of reckless driving to include things like:

  • Operating a vehicle with faulty brakes
  • Unsafe passing
  • Street racing
  • Failure to signal

When determining if a driver’s irresponsible operation of a vehicle is a serious violation that can lead to disqualification, the FMCSA includes all reckless driving convictions while operating a commercial vehicle.  Serious violations in a non-commercial motor vehicle are counted as a violation for purposes of disqualification only if the violation results in the cancellation, revocation, or suspension of the motorist’s commercial or noncommercial license to drive. Any FMCSA penalties are in addition to penalties imposed by Virginia state courts or the Virginia DMV.

State Rules for Irresponsible Driving and CDL Drivers

The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles also disqualifies CDL drivers for serious violations, which include reckless driving as well as texting while in a commercial vehicle, erratic lane chances, and speeding 15 MPH or more above the limit.  Under Virginia law, a CDL operator will receive a 60-day disqualification for being convicted of two serious violations over the course of a three year period.   Three or more violations within three years can result in a 180-day disqualification.

Reckless driving can lead to other consequences in Virginia in addition to the suspension of a commercial license. A motorist convicted of irresponsible driving could lose his personal license to drive, could be fined, and could be sentenced to jail time. A first offense reckless driving conviction is a class 1 misdemeanor conviction and can result in:

  • Six points on a driver’s license that remain on the license for 11 years
  • Twelve (12) months in jail
  • A fine of up to $2,500
  • A six (6) month loss of driving privileges

CDL Drivers Need to Talk to a Reckless Driving Lawyer

Commercial drivers need to talk to a reckless driving lawyer as soon as they are accused of breaking these serious driving rules. Your livelihood is at stake, so get the legal help you need to fight the charges and try to keep your CDL license and clean driving record intact.