What is Reckless Driving?
Most Virginia reckless driving tickets are based on speed. If you drive more than 20 miles per hour over the speed limit or over 80 miles per hour, you have committed the offense of reckless driving by speed. However, reckless driving is also defined as failing to maintain control of your vehicle.
What are the Penalties for Reckless Driving?
In Virginia, reckless driving is a class 1 misdemeanor. It is a criminal offense that carries six DMV points, a potential fine of $2,500, and a potential jail sentence of 12 months.
Aside from the fine and jail time, your license could also be suspended up to six months. A reckless driving conviction remains on your Virginia driving record for 11 years and because it is a misdemeanor it can remain on your permanent criminal record for the remainder of your life. Other negative consequences can include an increase in insurance premiums as well as a potential negative impact on a security clearance for those employed in trusted positions.
What does the Court Consider When Hearing a Reckless Driving Charge?
A Virginia judge will look at several factors when sentencing a convicted reckless driver such as previous driving record, whether there were any injuries and if other charges were made at the time of the reckless driving allegation. The judge will also take into consideration if the defendant was polite to the law enforcement officer at the time of the stop and the attitude and demeanor that the defendant has in court.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
The answer to this question is YES. Many people go to court on their own with the plan to “explain” their situation to the judge and hopefully get their charge reduced or to otherwise be treated leniently. This can work, but it could be risky. Individuals with explanations and excuses that seem reasonable to them could be viewed negatively by a judge. Those not trained in Virginia law usually do not have the information needed to successfully defend themselves or convince the court to treat them leniently.
The main advantage of retaining me is that I will be able to identify any legal defenses you may have. If beating a reckless driving charge is not feasible, I can argue for lesser penalties and/or alternative sentences.
I have been practicing criminal and traffic law for over 20 years. Being a former prosecutor provides me with a unique perspective to assess your case. My firm, James E. Short, PLC, is located in the Greenbrier section of Chesapeake. I offer a free 15 minute telephone consultation to discuss your situation. Please contact me today so that we can address how my legal expertise can benefit your case.