In Virginia, Reckless driving is a very common charge that often comes as a surprise to most of our clients. In light of the frequency of these charges, as well as the seriousness of the offense, take a minute to review some important information about Reckless Driving.
Reckless Driving is broadly defined by the Virginia Code
The Virginia Code defines reckless driving as “any person who drives a vehicle on any highway recklessly or at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person”. Va. Code 46.2-852. As you can see, the language is broad enough to capture a wide variety of driving behaviors.
- In addition to the broad “general” definition, there are additional statutes which specify certain driving behaviors as being reckless driving. For example, driving a vehicle with faulty brakes, passing a stopped school bus and failure to properly signal a turn are all traffic infractions that are declared reckless driving by statute.
- Perhaps the most common situations (in the Richmond area at least) where Virginians are charged with reckless driving are in situations involving a motor vehicle accident and situations involving high rates of speed.
Don’t Go Over 80 mph!
Everyone should be aware that you may be charged with Reckless Driving by Speed if you are going over 80 mph, or if you are going more than 20 mph above the posted speed limit (i.e. 46 mph in a 25 mph zone). Even if the speed limit is 70 mph, if you are going 81 mph or more you can be charged with Reckless Driving.
Reckless Driving is a Class 1 Misdemeanor in Virginia
A Class 1 misdemeanor is the most serious misdemeanor offense in Virginia; a conviction carries up to 12 months in jail and up to a $2,500.00 fine. Here are the Misdemeanor punishment ranges in Virginia. To better understand the seriousness of a Class 1, consider that the following criminal offenses are also typically Class 1 misdemeanors: Assault and Battery, Petit Larceny, Possession of Marijuana, D.U.I. (Driving Under the Influence). Additionally, under certain circumstances your license may be suspended by the Court if you are convicted.
Speak to an Experienced Traffic Defense Lawyer
If you receive a reckless driving charge, it is important that you contact an experienced Virginia Traffic Defense attorney about your case. There are a variety of ways to avoid getting convicted as charged. An experienced attorney can help you understand the issues at hand and the defenses you may have, so that you can improve your chances of achieving a good outcome in your case.
The attorneys at BoykoNapier are experienced in all types of Traffic and Criminal matters in Virginia. Our attorneys handle cases throughout Central Virginia, including Richmond, Chesterfield, Henrico, Hanover and the surrounding communities. Call us to schedule a free consultation at (804) 658-3418, or contact us via email.