How Serious is a Reckless Driving Charge in Virginia?

A reckless driving charge in Virginia is a very serious matter. Virginia is infamous for being tough on reckless drivers. In fact, Virginia is so hard on reckless drivers that it is a Class One misdemeanor. It is punishable with up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2500. To give you an idea for comparison, assault and battery and sexual battery are also Class One misdemeanors in Virginia.

What is Reckless Driving in Virginia?

Virginia has a very broad definition of reckless driving. It can be the manner in which you drive your vehicle that is deemed unsafe. It can also be speed related, either with or without reference to the posted speed limit. The first type of charge is based on “driving in a manner so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person.” The second type is based on your speed. You can be charged with reckless driving if you:

·      Exceed the posted speed limit by 20 or more miles per hour.

·      Exceed 80 miles per hour regardless of the posted speed limit.

You could conceivably spend a year in jail for going 45 in a 25 or by going 80 in a 65. It is a common misconception that you must exceed the speed limit by at least 20 miles per hour to be charged with reckless driving in Virginia. That is not the case. Just consider the last time you were on I-66 heading towards Manassas and traffic wasn’t an issue. How many people passed you going at least 80 miles per hour? It happens all of the time and every one of those drivers was putting themselves in jeopardy of being charged with a serious crime.

What Can I Do If I am Charged With Reckless Driving?

First things first, do not mail in payment for the ticket. If you do this, you are in essence pleading guilty to a crime. It may not seem like a big deal but imagine not being able to land a job based on your prior criminal record, or losing your driver’s license for six months.

You should consider being represented by an experienced traffic attorney. A skilled attorney knows the ropes of the jurisdiction as well as the people involved that have charged you with a crime. Many people believe attorney’s fees to be cost prohibitive in a reckless driving case but, with fines up to $2500, an attorney’s representation can come out to be much less in the long run, especially if your charge can be negotiated into a lesser offense. Often, reckless driving cases where the offense is only a mile or two an hour past the reckless threshold can be negotiated to a civil charge like speeding or improper driving.

Jad Sarsour is an experienced attorney in Northern Virginia who has defended clients against reckless driving charges on many occasions. He knows Virginia driving laws and Virginia courts. He uses his skill and experience to give you the best possible defense. If you have been charged with reckless driving in Virginia, please call him today at (571) 216-2639 to begin protecting your rights. Time can be your enemy in a reckless case, so start your defense now.

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The Fairfax Criminal Defense Law firm of Jad Sarsour, represents clients throughout Northern Virginia and regularly appears in all courts, including: Fairfax County Fairfax City | Prince William County | Arlington County Alexandria City Loudoun County | Federal Court (Eastern District/VA)