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What Is Reckless Driving in Virginia?

As leading traffic ticket defense attorneys in Virginia, we’ve helped countless clients beat reckless driving charges. If you’ve been accused of a serious traffic offense, you need to act now to protect your future. Contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

When most people think about traffic offenses, they imagine speeding tickets and parking violations. They assume that all traffic offenses are more or less the same: Temporary inconveniences, easily rectified by paying a fine. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

The reality is that some traffic offenses, including reckless driving charges, can carry life-long repercussions. A reckless driving conviction can tarnish your reputation, drain your bank account and even land you in jail. That’s why it’s critical to avoid conviction.

At S&R Law Firm, we understand that just because you were charged with reckless driving doesn’t mean you’re guilty. Regardless of that fact, failing to mount an aggressive defense can result in conviction and the many penalties that come with it. Luckily, you don’t have to prepare your defense alone.

When you’re ready to review your options and start building a robust defense, we’re here for you. In the meantime, read through this article to learn everything you need to know about reckless driving in Virginia, including types of reckless driving charges, possible penalties and legal strategies for avoiding conviction.

Need legal help now? The sooner you make the call, the sooner we can start paving the way for your freedom. Getting started with S&R Law Firm is easy. Contact us online or call our law firm at (703) 273-6431 to schedule a case evaluation.

Virginia Reckless Driving Statutes

Reckless driving doesn’t always involve speeding or failing to obey traffic laws. Under Virginia law, a person can be charged with reckless driving for a number of different road behaviors. Regardless of type, conviction of any reckless driving offense in Virginia is considered a class 1 misdemeanor, and under especially egregious circumstances, may even be charged as a felony.

General Reckless Driving § 46.2-852

Virginia’s primary reckless driving statute is General Reckless Driving § 46.2-852. Under this statute, someone commits reckless driving by operating a motor vehicle “on any highway recklessly or at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person.” This definition holds true regardless of the posted speed limit.

It’s important to note that many drivers who are accused of reckless driving under § 46.2-852 are charged after being in an accident. This charge typically occurs when the officer investigating the accident scene deems one driver to be responsible. In order to be convicted, however, the prosecution will need to prove the driver was operating their vehicle at a speed or in a manner that endangered others.

Reckless Driving by Speed § 46.2-862

Another commonly cited reckless driving statute in Virginia is Reckless Driving by Speed § 46.2-862. This statute applies when someone is driving more than 20 mph over the speed limit or over 85 mph, regardless of the speed limit. Unlike other types of speeding-related offenses, people charged with reckless driving under this statute can’t simply pay their ticket online and be done with it. In fact, many jurisdictions in Virginia require the driver to appear in court, and if they fail to do so, a warrant may be issued for their arrest.

Reckless Driving Based on Failure to Maintain Control or Faulty Brakes § 46.2-853

Under Virginia law, a driver who fails to maintain proper control over their vehicle or who drives a vehicle that has a faulty or inadequate brake system on any highway may be found guilty of reckless driving under § 46.2-853. Similar to general reckless driving charges, this offense is commonly charged in traffic accident cases.

Other Types of Reckless Driving in Virginia

Although the three statutes discussed above are among the most commonly charged reckless driving offenses in Virginia, they are by no means a comprehensive list of offenses. Drivers may also be charged with reckless driving under the following statutes:

  • Passing When View is Obstructed § 46.2-854
  • Car Overloaded § 46.2-855
  • Passing Two Vehicles Abreast § 46.2-856
  • Two Vehicles In One Lane § 46.2-857
  • Passing at an Intersection or Railroad Grade Crossing § 46.2-858
  • Passing a Stopped School Bus § 46.2-859
  • Failing to Give Proper Signals § 46.2-860
  • Driving Too Fast for Traffic Conditions § 46.2-861
  • Failure to Yield the Right of Way § 46.2-863
  • Racing § 46.2-864,65

Although conviction of any type of reckless driving offense in Virginia represents a class 1 misdemeanor, the specific penalties you incur depend heavily on the details of your situation—as well as the quality of your attorney.

Penalties for Reckless Driving in Virginia

A class 1 misdemeanor is no small charge. It is the most serious classification of misdemeanor, and as a result, the potential legal consequences are similar to those given for less serious felonies. If convicted of reckless driving in Virginia, you could face the following penalties:

  • Up to one year in jail or up to $2,500 in fines
  • Six points against your Virginia driver’s license
  • A suspended driver’s license for up to six months
  • A criminal conviction that stays on your record for 11 years

It’s important to understand that if convicted of reckless driving, you’ll likely face more than just legal ramifications. For example, your car insurance premiums may skyrocket to unaffordable rates, and you may find yourself without a personal means of transportation. You may lose your job, and your personal reputation may suffer.

These are just a few of the personal losses that could end up taking a huge toll on your overall quality of life. The best way to avoid them all is by mounting an aggressive legal defense.

S&R Law Firm: Trusted Reckless Driving Defense Attorneys in Virginia

A reckless driving charge isn’t just a traffic violation—it’s a charge that implies negligence and holds serious penalties for the convicted. As trusted reckless driving defense attorneys in Virginia, we have the experience, resources and expertise you need to beat your charge and get on with your life.

Ready to get started? Contact our law office online to schedule a free consultation or give us a call at (703) 273-6431 to speak with a compassionate legal advocate today.

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