Reckless Driving in Virginia

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Although many people may think of reckless driving as an ordinary traffic infraction, it is actually a criminal offense and is taken very seriously in Virginia. In fact, there are more than 20 separate statutes in the Virginia Code dealing with various forms of reckless driving. It’s a good idea to be familiar with the varied ways you can receive a charge of reckless driving. Many drivers passing through or new to Virginia are surprised to learn, for example, that driving just 11 mph over a posted speed limit of 70 mph is grounds for a reckless driving charge.

The Many Forms of Reckless Driving

The general rule for reckless driving in Virginia is codified in Section 46.2-852 of the Virginia Code. According to this statute, it is against the law to drive a vehicle on a road in a way that is deemed reckless or that endangers “life, limb or property,” or at a speed that is similarly reckless.

Other ways you can be charged with reckless driving in Virginia include the following:

  • Speeding 20 mph or more above the posted speed limit
  • Driving over 80 mph regardless of the posted speed limit
  • Racing
  • Passing or overtaking an emergency vehicle
  • Passing a stopped school bus
  • Passing on the crest of a hill
  • Passing at a railroad crossing
  • Passing two vehicles abreast
  • Driving two vehicles abreast
  • Driving too fast for highway and traffic conditions
  • Failing to give a proper signal
  • Failing to yield right-of-way
  • Driving with faulty brakes or improper control
  • Reckless driving in parking lots, etc.
  • Driving with an obstructed view

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Punishment

Reckless driving is a Class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia. A person convicted of a Class 1 misdemeanor may be sent to jail for up to one year and/or fined up to $2,500. Typically, at speeds above 85 mph, courts will begin to suspend the driver’s license. At speeds above 90 mph, courts often impose jail time in addition to the driver’s license suspension.

Additionally, if a person is seriously injured or killed due to a reckless driving act, your reckless driving charge could be increased to a felony offense.

How Can I Fight a Reckless Driving Charge?

To avoid getting a criminal conviction on your driving record, you should consult a skilled defense attorney to go over all of your options. An attorney may be able to successfully get your charge reduced to improper driving or a non-jailable speeding charge.

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