Being charged with a reckless driving offense in Virginia is a serious situation that requires the right response. Therefore, all defendants should equip themselves with a good understanding of the issue, as well as the help that a trusted reckless driving lawyer can provide.

Here’s everything you need to know when charged with reckless driving in Virginia.

Your Reckless Driving Questions Answered

What Constitutes Reckless Driving in Virginia?

The Code of Virginia states that “any person who drives a 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 shall be guilty of reckless driving”.

Further examples are given too, including driving at over 85mph or exceeding the speed limit in any location by over 20mph. Reckless driving charges are normally Class 1 misdemeanors but can be upgraded to a felony depending on the circumstances, such as whether anyone was hurt as a result of the offense.

What Are the Penalties for Reckless Driving in Virginia?

Assuming reckless driving in Virginia is deemed a Class 1 Misdemeanor, a conviction will probably lead to a six month license suspension. You may also face a financial penalty of up to £2,500 and up to 12 months in jail.

However, it should be noted that penalties may vary greatly from one case to another. You will be judged on the circumstances of the offense while causing additional damage or being charged with a DUI, for example, could lead to far more severe punishments. A reckless driving lawyer will ensure that you have a clearer insight into what to expect.

How Will a Reckless Driving Conviction Impact My Driving Record?

When convicted for reckless driving in Virginia, the immediate penalties only tell half the story. There are several unexpected repercussions and long-term consequences that may negatively impact your life – not least in relation to your driving record.

Reckless driving will remain on your driving record for 11 years, although a reckless driving lawyer may be able to get this reduced. It should also be noted that any points may stay on your license for up to three years while your insurance premiums will significantly increase over this duration.

Do I Need a Reckless Driving Attorney?

Legally, you are not obligated to hire a reckless driving lawyer. Nevertheless, the benefits are plentiful, which is why most defendants will seek professional help to navigate the legal process with a view to fighting or reducing the charges.

For the best results, you must select an attorney who specializes in reckless driving and road offenses. They will help prepare your defense to minimize or eliminate the legal repercussions. Their knowledge of the legal environment gives you the best chance of success while also helping you know what to expect.

What Should I Do If Pulled Over for Reckless Driving?

Being pulled over for reckless driving is a scary and daunting situation, especially if it is your first time. Law enforcers are permitted to conduct a traffic stop if they suspect an offense has been committed. So, your next moves are vital.

You should cooperate, but will also want to exercise your right to remain silent and avoid answering questions until your lawyer has been contacted. Meanwhile, you must never let an officer intimidate you into admitting guilt or fault. Otherwise, this will later be used against you in court.

Can I Fight a Reckless Driving Charge in Virginia?

In short, yes, you do have the right to contest a reckless driving charge in Virginia. There are several potential ways to do this, ranging from fault with your speedometer to showing that the traffic stop wasn’t valid.

Either way, a trusted and experienced reckless driving lawyer is best positioned to do this. Whether proving your innocence, highlighting the circumstances, or raising doubt about guilt doesn’t matter. Their expertise will ensure that the right strategies are implemented to reduce any charges and subsequent repercussions.

What Are the Potential Defenses Against Reckless Driving Charges?

As already mentioned, there are several potential defenses against reckless driving charges. Other examples include proving fault with the speed gun or showing that you needed to break the normal rules due to an emergency on the road.

A lack of intent and faulty equipment can have charges reduced or thrown out. A reckless driving lawyer will help gather evidence and witness testimonies to challenge the prosecution’s claims. After all, the burden of proof is on them to prove that you are guilty of the offense.

How Long Will a Reckless Driving Charge Stay on My Record?

Reckless driving charges can stay on your record for up to 11 years, although your experienced reckless driving lawyer may be able to reduce this even if you are found guilty of breaking the law.

The charge can subsequently impact your job opportunities and other aspects of your life. Therefore, finding a trustworthy lawyer who is capable of reducing any repercussions for your driving record, as well as your freedom, is vital. The sooner you can draw a line under the case, the sooner you can get on with the rest of your life.

Get the Best Defense With an Experienced Virginia Reckless Driving Lawyer

Reckless driving is a serious offense that may be met with significant punishments. So, if you have been hit with this type of charge, it’s imperative that your next step is the right one. Seeking legal guidance and representation is highly advised.

Here at Bernstein Hough PC, our experienced lawyers can represent you to the full extent of the law. To find out more, get in touch with us today.

Reckless driving is a serious charge that’s related to aggressive driving, consisting of driving a vehicle with willful or wanton disregard for the safety of those around. Classed as a more serious offense than careless driving, there are a number of penalties, such as fines, imprisonment, or having a driver’s license suspended or revoked, but there are also a number of other unexpected repercussions of reckless driving:

A Permanent Criminal Record

While being convicted of reckless driving is classed as a criminal offense, it’s important to note that reckless driving carries a number of penalties in the state of Virginia, such as 6 points on your driving record, up to one year in jail, and six months suspension of driving privileges, as well as a fine, but you will also have a permanent criminal record that cannot be expunged.

Reduced Driving Privileges

If convicted, there is the potential to lose your license for up to six months but if you are an out-of-state driver, you may also lose your privilege to drive in the state of Virginia. Additionally, a reckless driving conviction in Virginia typically results in increased insurance premiums.

Every insurance company applies internal policies, but if you are convicted of reckless driving, this generally translates to a higher risk for the insurance company, meaning that you will get higher insurance premiums. While the exact amount of the increase can vary depending on the insurance company, many people see their insurance costs rise significantly for up to a period of three years.

The increase could also be more substantial for drivers who have caused property damage or injuries, are new or inexperienced, or already have a poor driving record. In some cases, the premium could go up by more than 200% over the three years following the conviction. This means an increased financial burden which can be felt in other aspects of your life as well.

The Impact on Employment

A reckless driving conviction can have significant impacts on your employment:

Job Application Problems

Many job applications will ask about criminal records and will require disclosure of a reckless driving conviction.

Impact on Driving Responsibilities in That Role

For jobs that involve driving or are covered by company insurance, a reckless driving conviction can result in termination based on the individual’s driving record.

Employment Prospects

The impact can vary, and while some employers may consider a reckless driving conviction grounds for termination, others may evaluate each case individually, but any job that requires a clean driving record may be hugely affected by a reckless driving conviction.

An Impact on Background Checks

Reckless driving convictions can appear on background checks, particularly those that include driving records. While it’s important to be honest about any reckless driving charges or convictions when undergoing background checks, the fact that you are convicted of reckless driving can be a major red mark against your employability.

Immigration Effects

One of the lesser-spoken components of reckless driving is based on the individual seeking to become a U.S. resident or maintain their immigration status, including the eligibility for a green card.

A reckless driving conviction is considered a criminal offense that must be reported to the immigration authorities and can have an impact on the application to become a permanent US resident because immigration authorities have strict requirements for those seeking a green card.

The Emotional Effects

The emotional impacts of being convicted of reckless driving can be significant. There are potential long-term consequences:

The Stigma of a Criminal Record

Having a criminal record will affect every aspect of your life with wide-ranging effects on your employability, as already discussed, as well as personal freedom which can contribute to emotional distress.

The Increased Financial Strain

Because of the rising costs of insurance premiums, this can result in stress, anxiety, and uncertainty.

The Mental Health Impacts

All of the above factors can lead to a sense of diminished self-worth. The serious nature of the offense and its implications on various aspects of life can result in huge mental health challenges.

Therefore, it is essential for individuals facing these types of charges to seek legal guidance and support to address both the legal and emotional aspects of a reckless driving conviction.

Get Top-Tier Defense With An Experienced Reckless Driving Lawyer in Richmond, VA

If you are charged with reckless driving, having the best defense on your side is essential. Having an experienced reckless driving lawyer can help reduce the severity of the emotional and financial impact. You can schedule a free consultation with our law firm to dismiss your reckless driving charge.

No one expects to get in trouble with the law, but it does happen from time to time. If a police officer deems that you’ve been driving in a manner that could cause harm to an individual or property, then you could face a reckless driving charge.

The scope of reckless driving is pretty broad and can include anything from using a device while driving to excessive speeding. Regardless of what caused the charge, there are some common consequences of reckless driving that may apply. In this post, we’ll run through some things that will or could happen if you’re charged with reckless driving.


You’ll Be Charged With a Crime

Many incidents on the road fall under the umbrella of traffic infractions, but that’s not the case with reckless driving, which is treated as a class 1 misdemeanor. That means that you will likely be arrested and taken to jail until you post bail. The process after that depends on how severely the reckless driving is judged, though it could require you to appear in court.

You May be Subject to Fines

The punishment for reckless driving varies from case to case, but it can often involve fines that run into the thousands of dollars if no defense is launched. There’s often a fine for the crime, and this fine can increase if the incident results in property damage. You’ll likely receive a higher fine if you’re a repeat offender.

Jail Time is a Possibility

Though it’s unlikely for first-time offenders, jail time is a possibility. That option is usually reserved for people who have repeatedly been in trouble with the law for reckless driving or other incidents on the roads. If you’re at risk of jail time due to reckless driving, it’s imperative that you get in touch with a reckless driving lawyer as soon as possible. They will be able to fight on your behalf to keep jail time to a minimum, or even eliminate it completely.

Your License Will Be At Risk

The courts can decide to revoke your driving license if you’re found guilty of reckless driving. The length of time that your license will be invalid will depend on the severity of the incident but could be up to six months. This can make running errands extremely difficult. And if you need to drive as part of your work, then your job may be at risk, since many employers require that their drivers have a clean license. A lawyer can help you fight the charges using a wide variety of strategies, which could help you to keep hold of your driving license.

Your Insurance Premium Will Go Up

Nobody wants to spend any more than necessary paying for their insurance, but that’s just what might happen if you’re found guilty of reckless driving. Insurance companies take into account a wide variety of factors when deciding how much to charge a driver for insurance coverage. If you’ve been found to be driving recklessly, then the insurance company will naturally deem you to be an at-risk driver who’s more likely to be involved in an incident on the roads.

Longer Term Consequences

As we mentioned earlier, reckless driving is considered a crime — and if you’re found guilty, you may well have a criminal record. This can make it more difficult to find employment, get loans, or find housing.


The best way to avoid reckless driving consequences is to drive extra responsibly. However, if you’ve already been charged with this crime, then that won’t be an option; you can’t go back in time to prevent the police officer from charging you with a crime. The best approach is to think of what you can do moving forward. Your best chance of avoiding some of the consequences outlined above is to work with a trusted reckless driving lawyer who has extensive experience in helping people like you successfully defend reckless driving charges. There is a wide range of strategies that can help your defense, but only if you work with the right lawyers.


Have you been charged with reckless driving? Then don’t hesitate to get in touch with us here at BernsteinHough, P.C. Our team has an in-depth understanding of Virginia’s driving laws and is ideally equipped to launch a defense that minimizes negative consequences. Contact us for a free consultation.


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