reckless driving

Chesapeake Criminal Defense Lawyer Offers Advice for Parents of Teenagers Arrested for Reckless Driving in Virginia

People make mistakes. Parents of teens facing reckless driving charges may see it as a learning opportunity, but a conviction can have a serious impact on a young person’s future in both the short and long term. Parents in this situation must provide unwavering support to their child with the help of a Virginia reckless driving lawyer. Learning about the legal process and developing a strong defense strategy can mitigate consequences and steer teenage drivers toward a more responsible path. James E. Short, PLC, explains the penalties for reckless driving charges and how you can navigate the process.

Potential Reckless Driving Penalties and Consequences

Reckless driving is not just a single charge in Virginia. Chapter 8, Article 7 of the Code of Virginia lists several offenses that qualify as reckless driving. A common example is § 46.2-862, which addresses exceeding the speed limit. Other qualifying behaviors include passing on a curve, failing to yield, aggressive driving, and street racing. 

In most cases, reckless driving convictions in Virginia are a Class 1 misdemeanor. They may result in:

Teenagers charged with reckless driving may face additional repercussions for their behavior:

  • They may have to disclose the conviction on college applications.
  • They may not pass background checks for job applications.
  • They may be denied an apartment rental or lease due to their criminal record.
  • They may have to pay higher car insurance rates for an extended period.
  • They may not be able to enlist in the military. 

A criminal conviction stays on a teenage driver’s permanent record until they reach the age of 29. This can seriously hamper their early adulthood and have a domino effect for the rest of their lives. 

Teenage Drivers Can Be Charged as Adults in Virginia

Even if the driver is under 18 years of age, they can be tried and charged as an adult for reckless driving in Virginia. They can face the same penalties and punishments, including fines and jail time.

In other cases, the teenage driver may go through a process called a petition of delinquency in juvenile court. Instead of regular jail, the judge may sentence them to a juvenile detention center. Other possible consequences include: 

  • Community service
  • Probation
  • Mandatory enrollment in a treatment program
  • Completion of a driver improvement course
  • Restitution of damages
  • Delay in getting a full driver’s license.

How You Can Help Your Child Navigate VA Reckless Driving Charges

A major role parents can play in teen reckless driving cases is to guide their children through this difficult process. It is important to offer them your support, helping them to avoid potentially life-altering consequences of a criminal conviction. 

Helping Them Understand the Seriousness of the Situation

Teenagers still have a lot of growing up to do. Part of maturing into responsible adulthood is taking responsibility for your actions, which starts with understanding the weight of the situation. Some teen drivers may think it is no big deal, but reckless driving is not a simple speeding ticket. It is a criminal offense. They must take it seriously and take the time to understand the unfolding legal process. 

Making Arrangements and Reducing Other Risks

While the reckless driving charge is still outstanding, parents can help their teenagers manage their affairs. They can help explain what happens after a reckless driving ticket and what steps they should take next. With a pending charge, the teen may struggle with college applications or signing rental agreements. Parents can help cover some expenses in the short term. 

Parents can also restrict privileges so the teenager doesn’t get into any more trouble in the meantime. Other harmful and potentially illegal activity can seriously hurt their case. It’s best to keep everything on the straight and narrow until the case closes. 

Finding an Experienced Attorney to Represent Them

Typical parents won’t have all the answers to their teenager’s questions without a legal background, so it’s crucial to seek the advice of a reckless driving defense attorney with key experience and knowledge in this area. Parents can accompany their teenagers to meetings with their lawyer, asking questions their child may not have considered. Attorney James Short can explain what to expect and work to protect your teen’s legal rights. 

The Importance of Hiring a Virginia Reckless Driving Lawyer

With their whole future ahead of them, teenagers facing a reckless driving charge can benefit greatly from the expertise of a seasoned defense lawyer. A skilled lawyer can investigate the circumstances, scrutinize the evidence, and build a robust defense tailored to your teen’s specific case. Your lawyer can negotiate to reduce a reckless driving charge and work toward more favorable outcomes. 

James E. Short has a proven track record of helping families navigate challenging legal situations with compassion and aplomb. Satisfied clients say Mr. Short is a “trusted voice” who makes “an otherwise bewildering situation much less chaotic.” Call to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation today.
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