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In Virginia, Reckless Driving is a crime that covers OVER 20 different driving behaviors!
Depending on the nature of the alleged offense and the circumstances of your case, you could face a wide range of penalties, from fines and suspended driving privileges to jail time.
The most common type of reckless driving is traveling at excessive speeds. In Virginia, that normally means exceeding 20 miles per hour over the posted speed limit, or exceeding 81 miles per hour or more on a highway. However, reckless driving could be considered just about any kind of particularly negligent driving behavior that is likely to cause an accident—although you do not need to have caused an accident to be charged with this crime.For example, changing lanes without signaling?That CAN be charged as Reckless Driving.Passing a school bus loading children? That CAN be charged as Reckless Driving.Bad brakes?You guessed it, POSSIBLY Reckless Driving!
More examples of behaviors that could be classified as reckless driving in Virginia include the following:
- Driving an overloaded vehicle that has obstructed views or controls
- Driving alongside another vehicle on a one-lane road
- Failure to use proper signals while driving
- Failing to yield the right-of-way
- Racing or spinning wheels
- Illegally passing another driver in a variety of situations, such as at a railroad crossing, in front of a stopped bus, when approaching a curve or at a highway intersection.
What penalties could I face for reckless driving?
Reckless driving is considered a Class I misdemeanor. Therefore, you could face the following penalties if convicted:
- Six points off your driver’s license
- Fines up to $2,500
- Potential jail time up to one year
- Six-month suspension of your driver’s license
- A misdemeanor on your criminal record
There are also some other consequences of reckless driving that go along with these criminal penalties and sentences. For example, you will likely see increased auto insurance rates or an inability to rent vehicles. Convictions could also affect people applying for jobs or anyone seeking certain levels of clearance in the workplace or in the military.
Any conviction could also play a role in later sentencing if you are convicted of another offense. Judges always evaluate past convictions as part of the decision-making process in determining sentences. To that end, if you already have a record of driving-related crimes, you are likely to face stiffer penalties the next time you are charged with an offense—especially if it’s driving under the influence.
Reckless driving charges that arise from racing (or attempted racing) carry harsher penalties than other forms of reckless driving. In these situations, your license could be suspended for up to two years and you could permanently lose your vehicle.
Finally, some aggravating factors may lead to your case being elevated to a felony. These factors most commonly are when reckless driving leads to serious injuries or death.
To learn more about reckless driving in Virginia and how you can defend yourself if accused of this offense, meet with an experienced Fairfax County criminal defense lawyer at The NoVa Law Firm.