← Back to Blog

In 2016 there were 23,948 speed-related crashes in Virginia. To reduce these numbers, Virginia police will hand out reckless driving tickets.

These aren’t your standard traffic citations. You face a lot more consequences than a monetary fine you have to mail in.

Not sure what reckless driving penalties you could face after your ticket? Keep reading, and we’ll explain everything you need to know about your ticket, possible penalties, how to fight it, and what to do to avoid getting one.

What Is Reckless Driving?

Virginia defines reckless driving as endangering life, limb, and property on a highway. It could also be that you drove at a speed or in a manner that would cause endangerment.

The two most common reasons for reckless driving tickets in Virginia are driving over 80 miles per hour, or driving 20 mph over the speed limit. You may not even know you have a reckless driving ticket until you go to pay your fines. Police officers are not required to verbally inform you of the reckless driving charge. They may simply write “RD” on your ticket.

You Could Face Criminal Charges

Here in Virginia, a reckless driving ticket is a class 1 misdemeanor, which means you face criminal charges. Now your employment and your future are in jeopardy over a traffic ticket.

To help define the seriousness of these charges, they are the same severity as if you had a DUI offense.

What Are the Reckless Driving Penalties?

You could face fines that are up to $2,500. You could also face up to 12 months in jail. Then there is the suspension of your license for up to 6 months. Plus 6 DMV points on your license and a Reckless Driving conviction that will stay on your Virginia DMV record for 11 years!

Everyday Life Penalties

You also need to consider how this will affect your life. For instance, if you drive a vehicle for work, you run the risk of losing your job.

Car Rental

Then renting a car will become near impossible. They will either require you to pay a lot more in fees, or they will simply deny you the rental.

International Travel

If you plan to travel internationally other countries may have a problem with your misdemeanor criminal record. If you try to hide it by nondisclosure, they may deny you entry to their country.

Insurance

You can also expect to pay increased insurance rates. Insurance companies consider the likelihood of them having to pay out on your policy.

If they know you are a reckless driver then your risk increases, because of this, they are going to charge you more since you will be viewed as a high-risk driver.

Arguing the Charges

There are a few defenses that you can raise when defending yourself against a reckless driving charge. The most basic is that you were not the driver, this is only applicable in a couple of

situations though. For example, your identity was stolen, and now this is a case of mistaken identity.

Another defense is that the prosecutor failed to show what the speed limit is for the road you were on. This only applies if you are charged with driving over 20 mph over the speed limit.

You could raise a defense of jurisdiction. Maybe the officer didn’t have authority because they were from a different locality. Or the road that you were on was located on private property.

If you are unsure of your defenses, the best thing to do is to speak with a knowledgeable attorney. They can guide you through your options and help you determine the best course of action for your situation.

Reduction in Charges

When you consult with your lawyer, they may advise against arguing your ticket and instead ask for a reduction. This would bring your charges down to a non-criminal traffic offense.

Courts will consider what you did at the time of the offense when deciding whether or not to reduce the charges. For example, let’s say you were speeding and accidentally rear-ended another vehicle.

You followed all other traffic laws. The court may decide to reduce your charge to improper driving. Then you only face a fine and three DMV points.

Avoid a Reckless Driving Charge

There are a few things you can do to avoid receiving a reckless driving charge. The first being to not drive over 80 miles per hour.

Next, always know the speed limit and stay within the limit. If you insist on speeding (we do not recommend it), avoid going more than 19 miles over the speed limit.

Always have full control of your vehicle and avoid sudden jerking movements or swerving. Time your passing, try not to pass while on a curve or a hill.

Don’t Do These Things

Don’t race other vehicles on the road. Don’t pass two vehicles that are abreast unless there are at least three lanes in both directions.

Don’t drive with more people in the car than there are seats. You don’t want your passengers blocking your ability to see the road or control your vehicle.

Don’t pass someone when you are at a railroad crossing. This is not only reckless but could be deadly for you. Trains stop for no one.

Have You Been Caught Driving Reckless?

Have you received a reckless driving ticket and are now facing reckless driving penalties? This is no joking matter, and you need to address this with the utmost seriousness as you would

any other criminal charge.

The smartest thing you can do is hire an experienced attorney. They are familiar with the process and can help you argue your case and strategize the best course of action.Contact our office today and schedule a consultation.

Areas of Practice

  • Criminal Law
  • DUI/DWI
  • Traffic Violations
  • Reckless Driving
  • Felonies and Misdemeanors

Bar Admissions

  • Virginia, 1985
  • District of Columbia, 1987
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Virginia, 1985
  • U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia, 1987
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 4th Circuit, 1985
  • U.S. Court of Appeals District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims

Education

  • University of Virginia School of Law, Charlottesville, Virginia
    • J.D. - 1985
  • Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    • B.A. magna cum laude - 1982
    • Honors: Phi Beta Kappa
    • Major: Economics & Philosophy