Virginia is infamous for its enforcement of the speed limit. According to the Virginia State Crime Commission, there is an average of 538,900 speeding charges in Virginia’s District Courts every year. Assuming no one gets more than one ticket per year (which we all know is not true), the math works out that almost ten per cent of Virginia’s licensed drivers are in District Court every year for a speeding ticket! While many of these tickets are indeed minor, many are not and depending on your situation, may be quite serious.
Reckless Driving and Speeding
Virginia criminalizes reckless driving. When it comes to speed, Virginia law specifically defines reckless driving as either exceeding the posted speed limit by more than 20 miles per hour or driving faster than 80 miles per hour, regardless of the posted speed limit. Reckless driving is considered by the Commonwealth to be a Class One misdemeanor that is punishable by up to 12 months in jail and by a maximum fine of up to $2500. This is the exact same type of crime that Virginia considers DUI to be. You can also lose your driver’s license for up to six months if you are convicted of reckless driving.
Speeding and Points
Virginia utilizes a point system to punish drivers for moving violations, including speeding infractions. Virginia has a tiered system for drivers depending on their age and what happens when they receive a conviction that results in demerit points. Drivers under 18 must complete a driver improvement clinic within 90 days for any point offense. Drivers who are 18 or 19 must also complete a clinic but not within a 90 day time frame. Drivers older than 19 are required to complete a clinic within 90 days if they accrue 12 points in a 12-month span or 18 points in a 24-month span. If you receive 18 points within 12 months or 24 points within 24 months, your license will be suspended for 90 days.
How does Virginia assign these points for speeding? A speeding violation between one and nine miles per hour can result in three points. Speeding between ten and 19 miles an hour over the legal limit results in four points. Reckless driving by speed can result in six points on your license. Unfortunately for people who have a lead foot, speeding tickets often come in bunches. If this happens, it is quite conceivable that a driver can lose their driver’s license in a very short span of time.
In Northern Virginia, the commute is often unbearable. Drivers inch along for miles. When an opening presents itself, they often speed to make up for lost time. The police often target these breakaway points for just this reason. A single speeding ticket may not seem so serious. However, as they accumulate, so does the expense and the potential for serious consequences. The best advice, of course, is to not speed, but millions of Virginians speed every day.
If you find yourself on the wrong side of the radar gun, help is available. Jad Sarsour is an experienced criminal defense attorney with years of experience defending Northern Virginians against speeding tickets. Give him a call today at (571) 261-7314 to set up your initial consultation. See what he can do to help preserve your driving record.