Charges And Penalties
You can be charged with Reckless Driving in Virginia if you are driving in excess of 20mph over the speed limit, 80mph (regardless of the speed limit) or driving in a manner that “endangers the life, limb or property of any person”. Virginia categorizes a Reckless Driving charge as a Class 1 Misdemeanor, with maximum penalties of up to $2500 in fines, a six month suspension of your driver’s license and one year in jail. A conviction will also add six points to your DMV record. Since it is a criminal charge, a conviction will show up on your permanent criminal record if you are an adult. Obviously, this could be a huge problem for people who are applying for jobs or require licenses or security clearances from other private and public institutions which conduct criminal background checks.
Ways To Fight A Reckless Driving Charge
Most often, a reckless driving charge will result from radar readings of more than 20mph over the speed limit. In this situation, it may be helpful to challenge the use, functioning and/or calibration of the police radar, especially if it’s only a question of a few mph over 20. When the radar reading itself cannot be challenged, which is most cases, it is important to consider other mitigating factors which may help you reduce your charge to a simple traffic violation:
- A relatively clean driving record (APLG can get this from the DMV for our clients)
- Your speedometer is reading incorrectly (APLG can advise you on how to get your speedometer calibrated before your hearing).
- You had a legitimate emergency which necessitated the speeding.
In situations where a reckless driving charge results from alleged “endangerment to life, limb or property of any person”, such as in an accident, there are many case-specific defenses which can be used to reduce or completely dismiss the charge. If it is little more than the officer’s opinion as to how you were driving supporting the case against you, then usually it will fall apart. Contact APLG as soon as possible to get a free initial case evaluation.
Drivers Simply Passing Through Virginia
A huge advantage of hiring an attorney for defendants who are not residents of the county and/or state in which they were charged is that the attorney can appear at the hearing on your behalf. Traveling to and from Virginia for court may itself end up costing you hundreds of dollars on top of any fines imposed by the court. APLG can communicate with non-local defendants about their cases via phone and/or email so that they don’t even need to return to Virginia!