Each state has its own definition of reckless driving and sets forth corresponding penalties. Virginia law provides a particularly strict threshhold for this crime and includes fairly harsh penalties.
It may surprise people coming from a different state to find what they believe to be a minor infraction treated quite seriously. However, make no mistake: if you face reckless driving charges in Virginia, you need qualified legal assistance.
How fast is too fast?
Driving over the speed limit by 20 miles per hour or exceeding 80 miles per hour at any time can cause police officers to stop you for reckless driving. Considering some highways have a limit of 70 miles per hour, you could face charges for driving as little as 10 miles over the speed limit. Learning this often brings a shock to people used to driving this fast just to keep up with the flow of traffic.
Range of potential penalties
Virginia law classifies reckless driving as a class-1 misdemeanor. It also does not provide leniencies for first-time offenders. Potential penalties may include license suspension, fines and even jail.
Fines number among the more common penalties for the average reckless driving case. Specific amounts can vary greatly, depending on the circumstances of your case, the county and the judge's specific policy. The maximum amount is $2,500; most judges will impose it fairly rarely, but an even more common fine in the neighborhood of $500 to $1,000 is not a negligible amount for most people.
License suspension and jail time are less common than fines. Judges tend to resort to these penalties for cases involving very high speeds. Different judges each have their standards for speeds high enough to warrant these drastic penalties; generally, these usually start at the 96-100 miles per hour mark. If your sentence includes license suspension, you may be able to obtain a restricted license that allows you to drive for specific purposes.
Virginia reckless driving charges can result in potentially serious consequences, so you need to take prompt action and consult a lawyer as soon as possible. An experienced defense attorney can help you achieve the best available outcome.