Reckless Driving By Speed Charges

Virginia has a general reckless driving law, but there is also a separate statute allowing defendants to be subject to reckless driving by speed charges.  A Virginia reckless driving lawyer can provide assistance to defendants who have been charged with the crime of reckless driving because they drove their vehicles too fast.

When Can You Face Reckless Driving By Speed Charges?

Virginia Code Section 46.2-862 indicates that a person can be found guilty of reckless driving by speed if the motorist:

  • Travels 20 miles per hour or more over the applicable maximum speed limit.
  • Travels faster than 80 miles per hour, regardless of what the applicable maximum speed limit is.

It is also possible for a defendant to be charged for reckless driving due to excessive speed even if he does not exceed these specific limits.  Virginia Code Section 46.2-852 makes it a criminal offense for a motorist to drive at a speed that endangers anyone’s life, limb, or property- regardless of what the speed limit is. This means a person who drives in adverse weather conditions could potentially be convicted of reckless driving even if he was going less than the posted speed limit if a prosecutor can convince the court that his reckless driving speed was too dangerous for the current conditions on the road.

Because reckless driving is a class 1 misdemeanor criminal offense, a conviction can result in a license suspension of up to 6 months, up to 12 months of jail time, and a fine up to $2,500. These penalties can apply to both a general reckless driving conviction and a conviction for reckless driving by speed. The Virginia DMV will also assign six demerit points on a motorist’s license if the motorist is speeding in excess of 80 MPH, going 20 MPH or more over the limit, or racing on the roads. License points assessed due to reckless driving by speed will stay on a motorist’s license for 11 years.

Insurance companies will likely charge much higher rates for someone convicted of reckless driving by speed charges, and the conviction and license points can be disqualifying for certain career opportunities.

What Are Your Options When Charged with Reckless Driving By Speed?

Because reckless driving is a crime, a prosecutor has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that you were going too fast and violated the law. There are defenses you can raise, including arguing there is insufficient evidence that you were actually going at the speed the prosecutor is claiming. Radar guns and speed detecting devices can be calibrated or used incorrectly, and an experienced Virginia reckless driving attorney likely knows the full range of defenses available for your specific case.

A Virginia lawyer with experience representing clients accused of reckless driving speeding can provide assistance in developing a strategy for defending against charges. Your attorney may also be able to help you negotiate a deal to avoid criminal prosecution, face lesser charges, or get a reduced sentence.  To learn more, contact a Virginia traffic crimes lawyer as soon as possible if you are charged with reckless driving by speed.