As a parent, you know that you must allow your teen to develop independence. However, allowing them out on the road can be nerve-wracking without you guiding them. You hope that you can trust your teen driver to make safe and responsible decisions. If they make a mistake and get arrested for reckless driving, it’s time to step in. They need to understand that a reckless driving ticket in Virginia is not like other traffic infractions. It is a criminal offense that could have far-reaching impacts on their life and future. Let’s talk about why not to get a reckless driving ticket as a minor.
1. Less Likely to Get Leniency
Each judge has their own style and method for how they administer penalty rulings. In many instances, judges are less likely to offer leniency to teen drivers. The idea is that leniency conveys the wrong message. A harsh punishment will be more likely to deter future bad behavior. However, as the teen driver, these harsh punishments could have widespread and lasting impacts. Even if the driver is under the age of 18, they could still be tried as an adult.
2. Expensive Fines
While many teens have jobs, not all do. Even the ones that do, they are not always well paying. This can make repaying expensive fines difficult. A reckless driving charge in Virginia can come with fines of up to $2,500. This can put a financial strain on the minor’s family.
If you cannot make the full payment within 30 days, the court may implement an installment or deferred payment plan. Simply claiming you cannot make the payments will not allow you to avoid punishment. Upon proof of insolvency, the court may require you to perform community service instead.
3. Driver’s License Restriction
As a teen driver, you just got your license and a newfound sense of freedom. A reckless driving charge can take all of that away by restricting or suspending your license. If the teen driver doesn’t have their license yet, a reckless driving conviction could require them to wait longer before legally obtaining a driver’s license.
4. Increased Insurance Rates
Teen drivers already pay higher insurance rates than older, more experienced drivers. Getting a reckless driving charge will increase your rates. In some cases, it can make it more difficult to secure insurance, as some companies may be unwilling to provide insurance for teen drivers with a history of reckless driving. These higher rates do not drop back down easily. It will take several years of safe, incident-free driving before you will see your rates begin to drop.
5. Employment Troubles
A reckless driving charge in the state of Virginia is a criminal offense. This means you will have a criminal record if convicted. If the charge is a misdemeanor, you may be able to have the record sealed from public view. However, it will remain on your driving record until the age of 29. This will have a lasting impact on your ability to get any job that requires driving, as employers will want someone with a clean driving history.
In addition, the military considers this type of charge a moral offense. Depending on whether your particular charge is a misdemeanor or felony, it could prevent you from pursuing a career in the military, law enforcement, or another government position.
6. College Dreams Delayed
Getting into your dream college or university could be an incredibly competitive experience. A reckless driving charge could prompt the college to ask further questions before considering your application. In some instances, it may even disqualify you. Because reckless driving in Virginia is a criminal offense, there is the risk of serving time in a juvenile detention center. If this happens, your education could get delayed until you serve your time.
7. Struggle to Move Out
As a minor, you may not think about one day moving out of your parent’s home. However, the day will come when you decide it’s time to venture out and find independence. Unfortunately, a reckless driving charge can make this more challenging. Many landlords run background checks on potential tenants. Your reckless driving charge will show up. While it may not prevent you from finding a place to rent, it could make the process more difficult.