What is Reckless Driving in Virginia and What Are the Penalties?

Few criminal charges in the state of Virginia are quite as underestimated and misunderstood as that of reckless driving. To be sure, because most states in the nation treat excessive speeding as a simple traffic violation, many drivers assume the same treatment is offered in Virginia. In reality, excessive speeding, which at certain speeds, falls under the purview of reckless driving in the state, is handled much more aggressively by the Virginia justice system, and instead can lead to a misdemeanor conviction with serious penalties.

Ultimately, a conviction on charges of reckless driving can have a lasting impact on your criminal record and a truly devastating impact on your future. In light of this, if you are currently facing charges for reckless driving in Virginia, it is imperative that you understand the situation and the potential outcomes, and that you reach out to a dedicated attorney in order to begin mounting a strong defense immediately.

What Constitutes Reckless Driving in Virginia?

Under Virginia code section 46.852, reckless driving is partially defined as driving a vehicle on any highway recklessly, driving at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger others, regardless of the set speed limit. Furthermore, Virginia code section 46.2-862 continues on to define reckless driving as driving a vehicle at a speed of 20 miles per hour or more in excess of the posted speed limit, or above 80 miles per hour regardless of the posted speed limit on the highway.

This means that drivers in Virginia can face reckless driving charges based on a set speed limit, or if a law enforcement officer deems their actions to be an endanger to others, regardless of how fast they are traveling. And a portion of the definition in section 46.2-862 deserves additional attention; specifically, the law states that a person may be guilty of reckless driving if they drive over 80 miles per hour, no matter the set speed limit. Indeed, even if a driver is traveling 84 miles per hour in a 65 mile-per-hour zone, and under 20 miles per hour over the speed limit, they can still face criminal charges under Virginia law.

Penalties for Reckless Driving in Virginia

Unfortunately for drivers who are convicted of reckless driving in Virginia, the penalties are far more severe than a few demerit points on a driver’s license and a small fine. Indeed, while the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles does claim that a reckless driving charge leads to six points on a driver’s license that will last for up to 11 years, penalties for a criminal conviction include a fine of up to $2,500 and up to 12 months in jail, pursuant to Virginia law. Simply traveling 20 miles per hour over the posted speed limit, or over 80 miles per hour on any road in the state, can yield a massive fine and a jail sentence of up to one year. It is because of these extremely harsh penalties that anyone facing reckless driving charges in Virginia should reach out to a skilled Virginia reckless driving attorney immediately for help with their case.

Don’t Hesitate to Reach Out to Our Office for Help

It is rare to find a driver who has never exceeded the speed limit at some point in time throughout their lives. However, while this may be a minor traffic violation in most other states in the nation, in Virginia this will often lead to criminal charges that can have a catastrophic impact on your future.

If you are currently facing reckless driving charges in Virginia, it is imperative that you reach out to the skilled Virginia reckless driving attorneys at Olmstead & Olmstead, P.C. for help with your case. We have comprehensive experience defending clients in Virginia, and we are prepared to help you today. Don’t hesitate to call us as soon as possible at (703) 361-1555 for assistance or use our convenient contact form on our website.

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