Reckless driving in Virginia is a class 1 misdemeanor, meaning it is a criminal offense punishable with up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. Reckless driving also carries six DMV points and a potential license suspension of up to six months. Further, a reckless driving conviction stays on your Virginia DMV record for 11 years, and your criminal records for the rest of your life.
Two Kinds of Reckless Driving
In Virginia there are two different kinds of Reckless driving charges. One is commonly referred to as Reckless by Speed and you can be charged with it for driving over 80 MPH or if you ever go 20 MPH over the posted speed limit. Virginia Code 46.2-862. The second is commonly referred to as General Reckless, Virginia Code 46.2-852. This charge is something of a catch-all citation. If all else fails, a police officer could cite you for reckless driving, simply based on the fact that he thinks you are driving in a way that endangers life or property.
There are a number of mitigating factors that we can use to reduce or even dismiss the charge against you. Some of these include:
- Good driving record
- Speedometer reading incorrectly
- Radar calibration issues
- Legitimate emergency
How to Prepare For Court
In order to take advantage of these factors there are a number of things you should start doing before going to court:
- Get a copy of your driving record
- Have your speedometer calibrated
- Take a driver education class
- Complete some community service – this is particularly necessary if you have an especially high rate of speed.
Different Counties Treat Reckless Driving Differently
You will also need an experienced attorney's help with your reckless driving defense. Every county in Virginia works differently and you need an attorney who is familiar with each jurisdiction's local practices – for example, if you are charged with a reckless ticket in Arlington County and accused of going 90 MPH over the speed limit or more it is local practice for the prosecutor to request that you serve active jail time.
In Fairfax County a prosecutor will not be assigned to your case until the morning of court and so it will not be possible for your lawyer to reach out to them in advance.
In Alexandria City there is one prosecutor who is responsible for handling all of the traffic cases for the City and so your lawyer will be able to speak with them before the day of court.
These are all just examples of the types of “unofficial local practices” that an experienced attorney should be familiar with.