Reckless driving is a severe charge in the state of Virginia. It is prosecuted on the same level as a DUI, and can also carry a similar punishment regarding a license suspension or jail term. Prosecutors do have the latitude to adjust a reckless driving charge, which is a privilege they do not have with a DUI when negotiating a cases settlement. But, they are still just as serious about prosecution because excessive speeding makes the highways unsafe as well. A conviction for reckless driving can have long-term implications for all defendants, and especially for individuals who work in specific industries such as commercial driving or military personnel. A charge is not just a citation but is instead an actual criminal issue that will require representation from an experienced Virginia criminal defense attorney.
Understanding the Threshold
Reckless driving in Virginia is typically associated with speeding. According to Virginia state law, excessive speeding becomes reckless driving when the speed exceeds the limit by 20 mph. Also, a speed of 80 mph is considered speeding in any situation, even when the road is a four-lane highway with a 70 mph speed limit.
Judges have significant latitude when ruling on reckless driving cases, as there are no minimums. However, the maximums can be considerable and can include a jail term if the case is particularly egregious. All charges in Virginia that carry potential jail time require the defendant to have an attorney, including a public defender if necessary. This rarely bodes well for a defendant, as fines can be maximized at $2500 with up to 12 months in jail and a six-month license suspension.
Multiple charges for reckless driving is typically where serious criminal problems begin for a defendant. A first charge can often be bargained down or result in a plea diversion when an experienced criminal defense lawyer can convince the court it is a one-time problem for a typically law-abiding defendant. When reckless driving is charged multiple times gives the court reason to review the prior record and rule as it is a pattern of behavior needing serious attention. This is not to mention the impact a criminal conviction has on insurance rates in the future as well as maintaining driving privileges.
Anyone in Virginia who has been charged with reckless driving should contact our offices as soon s possible for a full case evaluation. Reaching out to a reckless driving lawyer is an investment in your future as much as your freedom and your lawyer can matter greatly in the outcome.