Over the four-day statistical counting period considered as the Fourth of July weekend, Virginia police were busy with accidents, speeding tickets, safety belt violations, and drunk drivers. In addition, law enforcement issued 2,677 citations for reckless driving as part of the 2017 Fourth of July Operation C.A.R.E. initiative, according to a July 6, 2017, report in The Progress-Index. This type of traffic violation is a criminal offense unlike other types of speeding tickets and carries stiffer penalties if you’re convicted. If you’ve been charged with reckless driving in Virginia, it’s wise to become familiar with the basics and consult with an attorney about your circumstances.
More Than a Speeding Ticket
Speeding is a violation of Virginia law, but it’s not a criminal offense in the sense that many people assume. Typically, a speeding ticket is an infraction with fines and implications for your driving privileges. However, your driving conduct may constitute reckless driving where:
- You’re traveling at a speed in excess of 20 mph over the posted limit;
- You’re traveling at 80 mph, regardless of the posted speed limit; or,
- You’re operating your vehicle in such a way that you endanger other people or property.
Penalties for Reckless Driving
As a Class 1 Misdemeanor, reckless driving is a criminal offense. A conviction may result in a fine up to $2,500, a maximum jail sentence of 12 months, or both. Because it’s a criminal matter, the conviction will also lead to a mark on your criminal record.
Plus, a finding of guilt impacts your driving privileges, as you’ll automatically receive six points under Virginia’s points system. Your license may be suspended up to six months, and the matter remains on your driving record for 11 years.
Don’t Face Reckless Driving Charges Without an Experienced Virginia Attorney
While you may be tempted to represent yourself in connection with a reckless driving violation, it’s a mistake to go it alone without an attorney. You may assume that you’re facing a typical speeding ticket, but reckless driving is a criminal violation. A conviction includes penalties that impact more than just your driving privileges. Your chances of a favorable outcome increase when you have an experienced reckless driving lawyer on your side. If you have questions about your case, the attorneys at Shannon & Associates, P.C. can help. Please contact us online or call us at (757) 228-5529 with questions about reckless driving offenses in Virginia.