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Driving Too Fast for Traffic Conditions (46.2-861)

Whenever you are driving, one of your biggest considerations is what is the speed limit. From highways to residential streets, most roads have them and for the most part we attempt to maintain these speeds when we’re driving. However, sometimes traffic conditions require us to drive slower than the speed limit, which is certainly slower than most of us want to. There may be times when you’ve been driving while it has been raining or snowing and you notice that there are cars on the road going under the speed limit. That can be frustrating, and you may think, “it’s just rain,” or “it’s just snow,” and pass these vehicles, only to be pulled over even though you are still traveling at or under the posted speed limit. What is worse is that you could be charged with Reckless Driving, a Class 1 misdemeanor and a criminal offense in Virginia. If you find yourself in this situation, don’t hesitate to call the Fairfax Reckless Driving lawyers at S&R Law Firm. We may be able to help you get your charge or fines reduced, or help you keep your license if it is in danger of suspension.

Wait, I Can be Charged for Driving Under the Speed Limit?

It’s true. Even if you were driving at or under the speed limit you can still be charged with Reckless Driving! From the officer’s viewpoint, if you are driving too fast for the conditions of the road, you are driving unsafely. And in their eyes, you may in fact be committing a criminal offense known as Reckless Driving.

In Virginia, driving too fast for conditions is considered a form of Reckless Driving and therefore a criminal charge. This includes weather conditions or traffic patterns that may make it unsafe to drive at the posted speed limit. The Reckless Driving statute that criminalizes this is Driving Too Fast for Highway or Traffic Conditions. The Virginia Code Section 46.2-861 defines this Reckless Driving statute as;

A person shall be guilty of Reckless Driving who exceeds a reasonable speed under the circumstances and traffic conditions existing at the time, regardless of any posted speed limit.

The statute may seem vague and without many details, but this is a very fact-specific statute and each situation is different. Because driving too fast for conditions is very fact specific, it is important to consult with a Fairfax Reckless Driving attorney to determine whether you were properly charged. In addition, while it may be frustrating to be stuck behind a car that is driving slower than the speed limit in the rain or snow, it may be wise to slow down as well.

What are the Penalties for Reckless Driving in Virginia?

Reckless driving in Virginia is a Class 1 Misdemeanor and carries a punishment of up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine not exceeding $2,500.00. Additionally, Reckless Driving is a six (6) point offense on your driving record. A Reckless Driving conviction stays on your driving record for 11 years and Reckless Driving remains on a criminal record for the rest of your life and cannot be expunged.

As you can imagine, none of this is good news for your bank account or your future as a driver. Once you have too many points on your driving record, you can face license suspension, and Reckless Driving carries the most points possible. If it is your first offense and you have a clean driving record, you may be able to lessen the charge or face lower fines, but if it is your second, third, or fourth offense this will be more difficult, especially without a Reckless Driving lawyer in Fairfax by your side.

If you have been charged with Reckless Driving and are worried about what is to come, S&R Law Firm provides free consultations where you can learn more about your rights and the potential outcomes of your case.

Contact us for the help you need today at 703.273.6431 for a FREE consultation.

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