In Virginia, reckless driving is regarded as a serious misdemeanor crime. Usually, the charge is one of a class six felony. In Virginia, there are a number of common penalties and laws that could be applied in a reckless driving case which is considered as one of the most dangerous and careless types of driving conduct.
However, a reckless driving conviction in Virginia could also result in very serious consequences from which the following are the main seven:
- A jail sentence;
- A significant monetary fine;
- A suspension of driver’s license
- Driving and Criminal Records
- Employment and Backgrounds Check
- Security Clearances, and
- Civil Liability.
One of the consequences for reckless driving is a jail sentence that may be up to 12 months. That is applicable in case of repeated and ongoing reckless driving convictions.
When being convicted of a class six felony, the jail sentence could be from one to five years; however, Virginia law allows a judge to change this sentence to less than 12 months in case he/she considers and deems the case appropriate.
Fines are other types of consequences that are applied to reckless driving cases. The applicable amount differs from case to case, but it could reach a maximum of $2,500. However, once again, a judge has the full right to reduce the amount of the fine or to cancel the fine, which is not often the case.
Virginia law applies the suspension of a driving license for the reckless driving conviction from ten days to six months. Reapplying for driving privileges is only possible after the entire completion of the suspension period.
Conviction of a reckless driving is considered as a six-point demerit offense that is recorded on a driver’s driving record and stays for a period of 11 years. This can negatively influence the professional status of the driver.
A reckless driving conviction in Virginia causes the raise of applicable rates of insurance companies. Such companies could raise the rates or even cancel the policy that will oblige the driver to look for another company to issue a new policy, probably with higher rates.
A reckless driving conviction and the criminal record could cause a negative impact during the employment verification or the background check where the applicant could be refused to be hired especially, in case that the applicant’s job is related to driving such as, but not limited to, taxi driving and bus driving.
When applying for a security clearance, a reckless driving conviction has to be disclosed. It depends on the agency which is granting the clearance if the person will be getting the job or even keeping the job as a government contractor or an employee. In any case, the issuing of the clearance could be refused especially in the case of a felony.
Furthermore, a person charged with a reckless driving caused by an accident could be sued in a civil court by a person whose property was damaged or was injured. Paying the reimbursement for the material damages or the costs for the medical treatment caused by reckless driving will not ease the procedure in case of being sued.
What is the Difference between a Speeding and Reckless Driving Ticket
Despite the fact that speeding and reckless driving tickets may be highly similar, they are indeed different in practice in Virginia. It is of major importance that traffic law violators understand the differences are the charges as well as the penalties that they face may vary significantly.
There is a major difference in the severity of the ticket and its possible penalties associated with it. Speeding is considered as a mere traffic infraction while reckless driving is regarded as a misdemeanor criminal offense.
This difference between both terms leads to different punishments or penalties as well. Simply stated, speeding is only punishable by a fine while reckless driving is much more complex. Reckless driving may involve licenses suspension where the reckless driver faces a limited amount of time suspended of his/her license, by a larger fine sum, and/or jail time, depending on the severity of recklessness. The severity of recklessness is judged by determining other external factors that involve questioning whether other human beings have been hurt or whether public or private properties have been damaged.
In relevance to the difference between both terms, the main consideration in this regard is that reckless driving is a more serious offense than speeding. Acquiring a speeding ticket will never subject the traffic law violator to jail time, while on the other hand acquiring a reckless driving ticket may, at various times, cause the traffic law violator to face jail time.
While reckless driving offenses carry a maximum of six points assessed by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, speeding tickets carry an amount of point that is dependent on the actual speed. In some instances, it only carries three points while in other it may reach four points or even six points just like in cases of reckless driving. Being a reckless driver results in a conviction under criminal law which is very different from acquiring a speeding ticket as the latter is only a civil law matter.
Another difference between reckless driving tickets and speeding tickets is that reckless driving tickets may be issued for reasons such as, but not limited to, failing to yield the right of way, tailgating, physical violence that results due to road rage, and deliberately destroying property via the usage of a vehicle.
Furthermore, drivers must be aware that the grounds under which speeding tickets and reckless driving tickets are given depend on severity. For example, a driver driving five miles per hour above the speed limit will most certainly not be issued a reckless driving ticket, but a mere speeding ticket. However, driving 50 miles per hour over the speed limit is a more complex case where the driver is most likely to be issued a reckless driving ticket.
Regardless of the severity of the case, whether it is a speeding ticket or a reckless driving ticket, drivers committing an offense are highly advised to contact attorneys at law that specialize in the designated field of law.