Virginia is not for Reckless Driving

It’s one of the first lessons young drivers are taught in driver’s education class. Excessive speed can be deadly. Still, American society loves the image of the slick, fast cars. Speeding almost seems to be an American pastime.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the annual economic cost of speeding-related crashes exceeds $40 billion. In 2013, speed was a factor in 29 percent of motor vehicle crash deaths. Speeding also increases fuel consumption. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) estimates that for every five miles per hour (mph) over sixty, a driver will spend an additional seven percent for gasoline.

According to a study released by Wallet Hub, Virginia is the 6th strictest state when it comes to speeding and reckless driving offenses. The WalletHub study compared the driving laws in all fifty U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

 

So, what exactly is considered reckless driving in Virginia?

There are actually a variety of traffic offenses that could carry reckless driving charges. Reckless driving is not a simple charge. In fact it’s a Class 1 misdemeanor and a conviction will saddle you with a criminal record [Code of Virginia: Section 45.2-852].

Out of the four classifications of criminal misdemeanors in Virginia, Class 1 carries the potential for the most severe punishment. In addition to reckless driving other Class 1 misdemeanor offenses include: driving under the influence of alcohol (first and second offense), assault and battery, trespass, and sexual battery.

In Virginia you can be fined with a penalty of three months license suspension and a minimum $2500 fine. That’s minimum. The fine for the second offense is even higher. But don’t think you’ll only see the costs in the court room. The average increase in your insurance cost is 22 percent after just one ticket.

There are several moving violations that can carry a reckless driving charge in Virginia. In basic terms, those are the ones that are considered to be more dangerous or more serious than other violations. An example of this is speeding ticket for five to ten miles over the limit will carry a fine. That’s going to cost you both in court and on your insurance. But take that up to twenty miles over the speed limit, or if weather conditions are hazardous you could face a reckless driving charge.

Here are some things that my carry such a charge in Virginia:

• 20 miles or more over the posted speed limit
• Regardless of the limit, driving over 80 miles per hour
• Failure to yield to an oncoming emergency vehicle
• Failure to use your turn signal
• Aggressive driving (weaving in and out of traffic)
• Passing on a curve
• Passing a stopped school bus
• Driving with defective brakes
• Racing other vehicles

The Commonwealth of Virginia takes reckless driving seriously and makes provision for some stiff penalties, even for a first conviction. Here are the penalties you could face if convicted of reckless driving in Virginia:

• Up to a year in jail
• A fine of up to $2,500
• Up to six demerit points on your license. Drivers who accumulate 12 points in a calendar year are required to attend a driver improvement course and may face other penalties from the DMV. 18 points in a calendar year will result in a minimum suspension of your license for at least 90 days.

While reckless driving laws are the same across the Commonwealth, the application of penalties may vary from locality to locality. Specific punishments will vary based on the facts of the case, the driving record of the accused, and the disposition of the local judge.

In certain circumstances, penalties can be more severe. If a driver is convicted of reckless driving while driving with a revoked or suspended license and the driver’s actions led to the death of another person the charge becomes a Class 6 felony. That can carry a sentence of one to five years in prison. An attorney can petition the court for lesser penalties, but that’s no guarantee. A driver using a handheld device charged with reckless driving faces an additional fine of at least $250 along with the penalty associated with the Class 1 misdemeanor. [Code of Virginia 46.2-1-78.1]

A conviction of reckless driving will stay on your driving record for eleven years. That will show up when you face a background check or qualify for car insurance.

When you consider the risks associated with reckless driving, those few extra miles over the speed limit may not be worth it just to reach your destination a few minutes sooner. Assuming you do.

Find out More – Frequently Asked Questions About Reckless Driving

But in the event you do get charged with a speeding ticket or reckless driving charge, call us at (804) 355-8037

We handle Reckless Driving Cases in the Following Locations: