The Commonwealth of Virginia features some of the strictest driving laws in the country. For example, if you are charged and convicted with driving recklessly, you could be subjected to serving time in jail and the proverbial scarlet letter of a permanent criminal record.
What Exactly is Reckless Driving in Virginia?
According to Virginia Code § 46.2-862, a motorist is considered to be driving recklessly when they (i) travel at a speed of 20 miles per hour or more in excess of the applicable maximum speed limit or (ii) in excess of 80 miles per hour, regardless of the applicable maximum speed limit.
Basically, if you exceed a speed of 80 miles per hour in Virginia, you could be charged with reckless driving. Is it also considered reckless driving to exceed the speed limit by 20 miles per hour or more. For example, if you were caught by police traveling at 55 miles per hour in a 30 mile per hour speed zone, then you could be looking at a reckless driving charge.
New Speed Limits Increase Likelihood of Reckless Driving Charge
The Virginia Legislature allowed the speed limit to increase to 70 miles per hour on various state highways as a way to reduce traffic and congestion. However, the Legislature failed to amend § 46.2-862 so the 80 mile per hour reckless driving trigger is still in place. This means that if you are traveling on certain parts of Virginia highways like Interstate 66 or Interstate 95 in a 70 mile per hour zone and you exceed the speed limit by just 10 miles per hour, you could be charged with reckless driving.
Penalties Associated with Reckless Driving
In Virginia, reckless driving is considered to be a class 1 misdemeanor (the most serious misdemeanor offense). If you are convicted of reckless driving, you will be left with a permanent criminal record. The potential penalties for a reckless driving speeding conviction include the following:
- Having to pay court expenses and fines;
- Having to spend time in jail (e.g., if you are charged with traveling at a speed of 90 miles per hour or higher, you could be ordered to spend time in jail for every mile per hour over 90 depending on the jurisdiction);
- Having your driver’s license suspended for up to six months;
- Having six points added to your license; and
- Having to pay much more in insurance premiums (e.g., auto insurance rate increases for someone with a reckless driving conviction can be larger than those related to someone convicted of a lesser traffic offense, and your insurance rates can be impacted for more than a decade.)
The maximum penalties for a reckless driving conviction include having to serve up to one year in jail, having to pay a $2,500 fine, and having your license suspended for six months. Not to mention the long-term embarrassment and stigma associated with having a permanent criminal record.
How Can a Reckless Driving Defense Lawyer in Fairfax Help Me?
Retaining the services of a skilled and experienced reckless driving defense lawyer in Fairfax is extremely important if you were charged with driving recklessly on a Virginia road or highway. The above-described penalties for someone convicted of reckless driving are comparable to someone who was convicted of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Many motorists do not appreciate or comprehend the gravity of a reckless driving conviction. Many motorists understand the lifelong implications of a DUI/DWI conviction, so they usually act quickly to retain the services of an aggressive DUI/DWI defense lawyer. The same rationale applies when deciding whether to hire an aggressive Fairfax reckless driving defense lawyer.
Keep in mind, if you are convicted of reckless driving, the criminal conviction stays with you for the rest of your life, and stays on your Virginia driving history record for 11 years. Having a criminal record can impact your ability to obtain a job and many other future opportunities that you would have otherwise been able to look forward to (e.g., securing housing, applying to college, etc.).
This is why you need to take action and contact the Fairfax reckless driving defense attorneys with the Dua Law Firm. Our legal team understands how to effectively defend, advocate, negotiate and argue on behalf of our clients, including those charged with reckless driving. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, contact our office today at (703) 539-8092. Our legal team looks forward to working together with you.