The state of Virginia has some of the most severe traffic laws in the nation. If you have received a ticket for reckless driving, you have technically been charged with a crime. It is important that you carefully consider what your next steps will be.
What is Reckless Driving?
The most common forms of reckless driving in Virginia are speeding at 80 miles per hour and speeding at least 20 miles over the posted speed limit. However, Virginia law also considers a variety of other driving behaviors as reckless driving:
- Passing a school bus
- Filing to give a proper turn signal
- Passing an emergency vehicle that has its emergency lights and sirens activated
- Failing to yield the right-of-way
- Driving with an obstructed view
- Passing in a no-pass zone
- Driving dangerously in a parking lot
- Operating a vehicle that cannot be controlled or that has a faulty brake system
- Driving at speeds unsafe for current road or traffic conditions, such as on icy roads
Reckless driving is a Class One misdemeanor, which is one step down from a felony. If you are convicted of reckless driving, you may be subjected to consequences such as:
- Incarceration of up to 12 months
- A fine of up to $2,500
- Suspension of your driver's license
- If you are an out-of-state driver, a suspension of your driver's license in your home state
You can pay the traffic ticket, but note first that your payment will be legally interpreted as you pleading guilty to the charge. You will have a criminal record, which can have long-term consequences for you.
Should you go to trial?
Your other option is to contest the reckless driving charges. If you decide to contest the ticket, you will be faced with three possible outcomes at trial:
- Dismissal. The case may be completely dismissed or only upon the completion of a court-ordered service.
- Reduction of Charges. The court may review the case and determine that a lesser charge is more appropriate.
- Conviction. The court may assess penalties according to the circumstances of the case.
If you have been ticketed for reckless driving and want to know what your next steps may be in more detail, you should consider contacting an attorney who routinely handles reckless driving cases. During a free, initial consultation, the attorney may discuss the factors surrounding your unique case and may advise you in regards to how he or she may be able to help you with your defense.