Virginia Reckless Driving Law

< VA Criminal Law

Virginia Reckless Driving Attorneys

Facing charges of reckless driving in Virginia can have severe consequences that significantly disrupt your life. In addition to the penalties imposed upon conviction, you may be burdened with court fees and compelled to invest substantial time and effort in contesting what could be baseless charges, stemming from misunderstandings or misperceptions by a law enforcement officer, even if you are completely innocent. If found guilty, the repercussions can range from fines and driving restrictions to potential jail time. Depending on the severity of the sentence handed down by the judge, this may lead to job loss and difficulties securing stable employment in the future.

Do not allow one poor judgment call, or worse, an accusation you are innocent of, to jeopardize your life. By engaging the services of a skilled Virginia reckless driving lawyer, you can challenge these charges and assert your innocence. A qualified reckless driving defense attorney in NoVa will thoroughly examine your case, analyzing past reckless driving cases to construct the most robust defense strategy possible, maximizing your chances of achieving a favorable outcome in court.

Misdemeanor Reckless Driving Defense

Virginia state code § 46.2-852 provides the definition of reckless driving. According to this code, it is unlawful to operate a vehicle on a roadway in a manner that is considered reckless, posing a risk to life, limb, or property, or at a speed deemed reckless. Typically, this involves driving at a speed approximately 20 miles per hour over the posted speed limit or exceeding 80 miles per hour regardless of the posted limit.

In addition to roadways and highways, state code § 46.2-864 extends the prohibition of reckless driving to other areas, including:

  • Driveways or parking lots of businesses, governmental properties, recreational facilities, schools, or churches.
  • Premises of industrial establishments intended for employee, patron, and customer parking.
  • Highways under construction, even if currently closed to the public.

Penalties for reckless driving are defined under state code § 46.2-868. A conviction for reckless driving results in a Class 1 misdemeanor on the individual’s criminal record, which is the same classification as a DWI or DUI in Virginia. The associated penalties for a Class 1 misdemeanor reckless driving charge may include fines of up to $2,500, imprisonment for up to 1 year, and a potential suspension of driving privileges for up to 6 months. Additionally, the conviction may lead to the accumulation of 6 demerit points on the individual’s driver’s license.

A skilled Virginia reckless driving lawyer will carefully examine the details of your case to construct a strong defense. Some possible points that your NoVa reckless driving defense attorney may raise in court to support your innocence include:

  • Assessing whether the law enforcement officer followed proper police procedural standards and rules during your arrest or ticketing, including the calibration of radar or speed detection equipment.
  • Evaluating the credibility and evidence of other witnesses who observed the alleged reckless driving offense.
  • Refuting points presented by the prosecutor based on the specific facts of your case.
  • Examining the calibration of your vehicle’s speedometer, considering emergency circumstances that may have forced reckless driving, or assessing the situation if the charge involved an improperly marked or unmarked emergency vehicle.
  • Demonstrating a clean driving history apart from the alleged offense.

Felony Reckless Driving Charges

If certain conditions outlined in state code § 46.2-868 are met and you are found guilty, you may face a Class 6 felony conviction instead of a Class 1 misdemeanor for reckless driving. These conditions include:

  • Driving without a valid driver’s license due to a previous suspension or revocation.
  • Reckless driving resulting in the death of another individual.

Felony charges carry more severe consequences compared to misdemeanor charges, underscoring the importance of retaining the services of an experienced Virginia reckless driving lawyer who has a proven track record of success. The penalties associated with a Class 6 felony reckless driving conviction may include imprisonment ranging from 1 to 20 years, driving suspensions ranging from 1 to 3 years, substantial fines, probation, and other potential repercussions.

Other Causes for Reckless Driving Charges

In Virginia, reckless driving charges can extend beyond exceeding the speed limit by 20 mph. The following actions can also lead to a reckless driving charge:

  • Passing a school bus that is stopped to pick up or drop off children (code § 46.2-859).
  • Passing an emergency vehicle, such as an ambulance (code § 46.2-829).
  • Engaging in racing with another vehicle (code § 46.2-865).
  • Driving with malfunctioning brakes (code § 46.2-853).
  • Operating an overloaded vehicle that obstructs visibility or driving control (state code § 46.2-855).

A skilled Virginia reckless driving attorney will possess knowledge of these circumstances and more. They will be capable of crafting a defense strategy tailored to your specific situation.