A reckless driving ticket is not a standard run-of-the-mill traffic ticket. Instead, it is a criminal charge that can have far-reaching effects on your life. It will stay on your driving record for up to eleven years if convicted. Not only will it impact your ability to drive, but it could result in expensive fines, jail time, loss of employment opportunities, and increased insurance premiums. Speaking with a reckless driving attorney can help you understand how getting convicted of reckless will affect you and the importance of presenting an effective defense.
The financial penalty for reckless driving is up to $2,500. Typically, if it is your first time getting a reckless driving offense, the fine will be lower than someone with multiple offenses. However, it is up to the judge. They may decide that the circumstances surrounding the charge are so heinous that they warrant a harsher punishment.
Possible Jail Time
As per the Virginia Code Section 46.2-862, a reckless driving charge can result in jail time of up to one year. Generally, first time offenses don’t come with a maximum jail time of one year. Individuals with repeated reckless driving convictions or an overall bad driving history are more likely to receive jail time. However, there is no guarantee that the judge will follow this with your case. A reckless driving attorney will argue on your behalf to reduce or eliminate jail time.
Virginia DMV Points
As with other driving infractions in Virginia, a reckless driving charge is a 6-point offense. This means you could have a perfect driving record, and one reckless driving charge would result in you having a negative point balance. You earn one safe driving point each year that you drive without any suspensions or violations. The way DMV points work is that you can have a maximum of 5 points. Driving offenses and infractions then earn you demerit points that get deducted from your point balance.
A reckless driving charge is a Class 1 misdemeanor. This means it isn’t just a traffic infraction. It is criminal and will show up on criminal background checks. This is not a ticket that you can simply pay the fine on and move on from. Instead, you will have to attend court in front of a judge. The process is longer and more complicated.
Insurance Premium Increases
Auto insurance companies use a proprietary algorithm to determine how much they will charge for insurance coverage. Many factors go into the calculation. However, the person’s driving history plays a significant factor. Insurance companies want to limit their out-of-pocket costs. To do this, they will charge more for drivers who are deemed a more considerable risk. A reckless driving infraction on your history shows that you are a riskier driver and, therefore, more likely to cause an accident or damage.
The court could suspend your license. It could be as short as ten days or up to six months. If your license is suspended, you cannot drive your vehicle. Reckless driving will affect you, your family, and friends.
In some situations, your attorney could argue that you need special accommodations. For example, this could allow you to drive to work or school and nowhere else. While this will enable you to continue working, it does seriously limit your ability to drive.
Loss of Employment
If you serve jail time or have your license suspended, you risk losing your employment. If you cannot report to your job and perform your duties, then your employer may decide to let you go. Some positions that require you to drive also require you to maintain a clean driving record. Once you have reckless driving on your record, your company may decide to let you go because you no longer meet the requirements and standards required for the position.
If you have a security clearance or plan to apply for one, you will need to disclose the reckless driving conviction. It will come up during the background check. While security clearances are determined and approved on a case-by-case basis, reckless driving could affect your security clearance approval.