Reckless Driving in Virginia

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In Virginia, “Reckless Driving” can describe a range of traffic violations. It can include charges such as:

Virginia Code 46.2-862 – Driving twenty miles per hour over the posted speed limit, or exceeding 80 miles per hour

Virginia Code 46.2-852 – Driving in a manner that endangers the life, limb or property of any person

Virginia Code 46.2-859 – Passing a stopped school bus or Failing to yield right-of-way to an emergency vehicle

Virginia Code 46.2-865 – Racing another vehicle

Virginia Code 46.2-853 – Driving a vehicle that is not “under proper control” or that has faulty brakes

Penalties for Reckless Driving

Many of the traffic violations that people typically think of are called “infractions” in Virginia. This means that they are violations that are not considered actual ‘crimes.’ Reckless Driving, however is considered to be a Class 1 Misdemeanor in Virginia. This is the most serious category of misdemeanor in Virginia’s classification system. As such, punishment can include up to 12 months in jail and/or a $2,500 fine. Because of this, a conviction of Reckless Driving can be considered a conviction of a criminal offense.

Because Reckless Driving covers a wide range of possible driving behavior, a typical punishment for the average case will likely not even come close to these maximum penalties (which often tend to be reserved for cases involving more serious consequences to the parties involved, such as serious injury or death resulting from the driving behavior).

For many clients, it is the possibility of a criminal conviction that presents the greatest concern. For example, some clients are concerned about the possibility of having a misdemeanor conviction record may affect employment applications or employment related background checks. Other clients have concerns about how such a conviction could affect things like a government issued security clearance. While a reckless driving conviction itself will likely have little impact on these issues, many clients hire attorneys to assist with reckless driving charges in the hope of amending the charge to a lesser, non-misdemeanor, infraction.