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Is Reckless Driving a Criminal Offense in Virginia?

Reckless driving is a criminal offense in Virginia, but it may surprise you to learn how wide its definition reaches. Most individuals associate reckless driving with excessive speed limits, but the Commonwealth’s statute covers much more than that.
Virginia’s general reckless statute states, “Irrespective of the maximum speeds permitted by law, any person who drives a vehicle on any highway recklessly or at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person shall be guilty of careless driving.”

There are numerous situations that can lead to a reckless driving charge. For example:

  • Excessive Speed – Driving in excess of the posted speed limit by 20 miles per hour or faster than 80 miles per hour, regardless of the posted speed. Driving at a speed that is too fast for highway conditions, like speeding on an icy road, can also result in a reckless driving charge.
  • Passing a Stopped School Bus – Passing a school bus on any roadway or school driveway while students are boarding or exiting the bus.
  • Racing a Vehicle – Engaging in a race involving two or more vehicles on a public highway or on any premises that is open to the public. A conviction requires the suspension of your driver’s license for six months to two year
  • Endangerment – Driving in a manner that endangers life, limb, or property. This violation is not limited to highways but also includes parking lots and highways that are closed to the public.

Reckless driving is generally classified as a misdemeanor under Virginia law. As such, the potential penalties include up to a year in jail and/or a $2500 fine.

Defending Your Careless Driving Charge

The potential penalties of a careless driving conviction are serious and deserve an aggressive defense. Reckless driving charges often stem from a car accident, where the law enforcement officer did not show up on the scene until after the accident occurred. The state’s proof may solely depend on the testimony of a witness and the officer. Your attorney can work to create doubt about the credibility of the witness accounts. In cases where your speed was tracked by law enforcement radar, your attorney may question whether the radar was calibrated correctly to provide an accurate reading.
If you are facing a reckless driving charge, call the attorneys of Shannon & Associates for immediate assistance. These experienced lawyers have skillfully handled numerous criminal offenses in the state of Virginia and they have the proven ability to provide you with a comprehensive defense. Contact the office online or call (757) 228-5529 today.

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