Driving offenses may not be considered as serious or dangerous as many other types of criminal offenses, but they can have devastating, long-term effects. Not only can they result in severe injuries or death for victims, but the driver’s life may also be changed forever. Reckless driving is one particular driving offense that may not get as much attention as driving while under the influence, but it likely happens far more often and should be taken just as seriously.
Here is the information you need about reckless driving in Virginia and the repercussions of getting a reckless driving ticket.
What Constitutes Reckless Driving?
In Virginia, a reckless driving charge can encompass several different actions on the road and is not simply limited to driving fast or out of control. If you are observed doing any of the following actions, you can be charged with reckless driving:
- Driving 20 mph or more over the speed limit
- Driving more than 80 mph regardless of the posted speed limit
- Street racing
- Operating a vehicle that is overloaded and obstructs your view
- Operating a vehicle with faulty brakes
- Driving your vehicle next to another vehicle on a one-lane highway
- Not signaling properly when switching lanes or turning
- Failing to yield the right of way to other cars
- Driving too fast for the current road or traffic conditions
- Passing other vehicles illegally at railway crossings, on a curved roadway, highway intersections, behind a stopped school bus or when pedestrians are present
- Endangering people or property in public parking lots
It’s easy to see that some of these actions seem relatively minor compared to others, which is why having a good lawyer at your side is crucial.
What is the Punishment for Reckless Driving?
Reckless driving is not a basic traffic infraction, but it is a criminal offense that’s classified as a Class 1 misdemeanor, which is the most serious type of misdemeanor in Virginia. Our extensive experience in Henrico County and surrounding counties in Virginia give us insight into the state’s criminal law system. A Henrico County reckless driving ticket carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail, a $2,500 fine and a six-month driver’s license suspension.
Along with the criminal charges, you could lose six points on your driver’s license, your insurance premiums will go up and the charge will remain on your Virginia DMV record for 11 years. To give an idea of how seriously reckless driving is considered in Virginia, other Class 1 misdemeanors include DWI, possession of certain narcotic substances, shoplifting, and simple assault.
Benefits of Having an Attorney for a Reckless Driving Charge
Our lawyers know the law, the jurisdiction, the prosecutors and the judges, and we are dedicated to providing you with the best defense possible. A reckless driving ticket doesn’t have to mean the highest possible penalty, a long-term mark on your driving record, or a life-long criminal record. We will assess your case, advise you of the best defense strategy. We will cover every detail of your case and work hard to get you the best outcome possible.
The Appeal Process
If you were are charged with reckless driving in Virginia and prepaid your summons or went to court without a lawyer and want to appeal your conviction, the process is as follows:
- First, it’s important to note that you must file an appeal within 10 days of the verdict; which includes weekends and holidays
- Your appeal must be filed with the District Court clerk
- You’ll be given a new court date, which you must attend or face possible jail time; even if jail was not part of the original sentence
- Your appeal will be heard in the Circuit Court as if it had not been brought to court already
You have a much better chance of winning your appeal with an experienced attorney taking care of the paperwork and representing you. An attorney will also have experience with specific judges, which will give you valuable insight on how to handle the appeal.
Of course, you might not have to worry about an appeal at all, if you have a skilled lawyer representing you for the initial trip to court. When you allow one of our reckless driving lawyers to represent you, the likelihood of success is much higher. Do not hesitate to seek the legal counsel of an experienced attorney. Contact us at BernsteinHough, P.C today to get the process started.