Is Reckless Driving a Misdemeanor or a Felony in Virginia?

Reckless driving, whether the charge is based on excessive speed or results from an accident, is a crime in Virginia.  There are numerous out of state drivers and some Virginia drivers who are shocked to learn traveling on a highway at 81 miles per hour in a 70 mile per hour zone may be charged as reckless driving.  Under this specific circumstance, a person may actually be charged with reckless driving for going eleven miles over the posted speed limit.

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In Virginia, reckless driving is a Class 1 misdemeanor.  There are four classifications of criminal misdemeanors in Virginia.  Class 4 and Class 3 misdemeanors are only finable criminal offenses.  Class 2 misdemeanors are punishable by confinement in jail for not more than six months and/or a fine of not more than $1,000.  In Virginia, a Class 1 misdemeanor is the misdemeanor with the most severe potential punishment.  A person convicted of a Class 1 misdemeanor may be sent to jail for not more than twelve months and/or fined not more than $2,500.  Reckless driving is only one of many crimes classified as a Class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia.  Examples of other crimes classified as Class 1 misdemeanors are driving under the influence of alcohol, first offense, driving under the influence of alcohol, second offense, assault and battery, trespass, and sexual battery.

It is highly unlikely a person charged with reckless driving for speeding 81 miles per hour in a 70 mile per hour zone would be sentenced to an active or suspended jail sentence.  Usually, the punishment for a conviction of reckless driving at that speed is a fine.  However, persons who speed well in excess of 80 miles per hour on the highways and interstates of Virginia put themselves at increased risk for the imposition of a license suspension or a suspended or active jail sentence.  For instance, persons charged with speeding more than 90 miles per hour in Chesterfield County are normally sentenced to an active jail sentence and have their license or privilege to drive in Virginia suspended.  The maximum license suspension allowed by Virginia statute for a conviction of reckless driving is six months.

Any person charged with reckless driving in Virginia should take the charge seriously because reckless driving is a crime.  In some cases, criminal convictions may detrimentally affect a person’s ability to obtain employment or obtain a promotion in their current job.  Reckless driving is a crime in Virginia whether the person charged was speeding 81 miles per hour in a 70 mile per hour zone or speeding 110 miles per hour in a 65 mile per hour zone.  The punishment for a conviction for speeding 81 miles per hour in a 70 mile per hour zone will differ greatly from the punishment for a person convicted of speeding 110 miles per hour in a 65 mile per hour zone.  However, regardless of punishments imposed, both persons will have a criminal conviction.  That’s why it’s important to consult an attorney with experience defending person’s charged with reckless driving in Virginia.

At Weiland Upton, we understand the chaos that being charged with the crime of reckless driving can cause in your life.  That’s why we are committed to providing our clients the highest level of legal representation.  We are intimately familiar with each of the courts and judges in Richmond and dozens of surrounding counties.  Our regular practice in these courts allows us to achieve the best possible outcome for each case.  Depending on the driver’s record, we can often convince the Court to dismiss the charge or reduce it to a less-serious traffic charge, avoiding a criminal conviction.

If you have been charged with reckless driving and would like to discuss your charge with one of our experienced attorneys, please give us a call at 804-355-8037.  We will give you a free consultation and can discuss our strategy for achieving the best possible outcome in your case.

Find out more – Frequently Asked Questions About Reckless Driving