Reckless driving in Virginia is a criminal offense and is regarded as a class one misdemeanor. However, just like every law in every state around the United States of America, in Virginia, laws related to rashly operating vehicle are subject to amendments, changes, and other decisions made by courts of various instances.
In 2017, various changes have been made in different regulations and penalties related to operating in Virginia including, but not limited to, the consequences of the speed limit, traffic lanes, concurrent suspensions, and refusing the mandatory breath test.
The down-under laws and regulations are the latest updates on traffic and speeding laws in Virginia for the year 2018 that have been passed by the General Assembly.
Law HB 2201:
Motorists are required to ride on the right side of traffic lanes in Virginia. Recently, a fine of $100 is applied and charged to the motorists that are not respecting the rules of riding on the right side of traffic lanes. The slow drivers should keep the right side of the lane on the highway while the fast drivers should keep the left side of the lane.
Law HB 2467:
Failing in paying the fine ordered by the court leads to the suspension of the riding permit Caught driving with the suspended license may lead to the new suspension. In accordance with the laws of Virginia, both suspensions can run concurrently.
Law HB 2327:
Another significant change in terms of reckless driving in Virginia is that there has been an increase in penalty for refusing to undergo the mandatory breath test for suspected DUI motorists.
There are no penalties for refusing to undergo the blood test to detect the amount of alcohol in the blood, but refusing to submit to the breath test is not allowed by law in Virginia.
Law HB 2386:
The payment of penalties could be done by an installment agreement or deferred agreements which allow people to use the values of their homes. At the same time the grace period, or the period immediately after the deadline, that is allowed by law for the unpaid court fines, has increased.
Virginia Code 46.2-852:
The conviction of rash operation of a vehicle will be applied to anyone whose rash operation of a vehicle on a highway is threatening the life and safety of any human being or endangering other people’s or public properties including, but not limited to, houses, buildings, gardens, and public institutions.
Virginia Code 46.2-869:
In the case where a person is charged with rash operation of a vehicle and the court declares that the same person is only charged with improper vehicle operating, the person in question will pay a fine of $500 and will be subject to a removal of three DMV points.
There are some proposed changes from Virginia Senate.
The upper-speed limit for being charged for reckless driving is proposed to be altered from 80 to 85 miles per hour.
Driving above the speed limit during more than twenty miles will still be considered as a reckless driving conviction.
Types of Virginia Reckless Driving Offenses Penalties
There are four types of Virginia rash operation of a vehicle offenses penalties: Jail time, fines, license suspensions, and demerit points. Such are called statutory penalties.
In most cases, drivers involved in rash operation of a vehicle do not face jail time. Only when the reckless driving is regarded as a class one misdemeanour, the driver may then serve a sentence up to one year of imprisonment. Having reckless driving as a first offense will most likely not result in such an outcome of jail time. The likelihood of jail time increases when the driver has “bad” history in terms of driving and on his/her driving record. However, in case the reckless driving is regarded as a class six felony, then the driver is most certainly to face a jail time sentence up to five years. In some areas or counties, an informal policy is used where the driver spends one day in prison for every mile exceeded over the speed limit.
In terms of the fine penalty, the maximum is a payment of $2,500 which is almost never implied or sentenced to a driver. The average fine for a reckless driver is in the range between $400 to $1,000 without the court costs that may be additional. However, some judges have the authority to fine the reckless driver less than charged, but it is unlikely that a judge completely dismisses a fine in favour for the reckless driver. In addition, judges have the authority to impose a small fee to be paid for every mile exceeded over the speed limit for instance, $10 for each mile exceeded over the speed limit.
License suspensions are another forms of penalties in reckless driving cases. A driver’s license may be suspended for a period between ten days to six months. For a driver to regain his/her license, he/she is required to comply with any conditions that the judge at the applicable court sets. This may include the completion of a driver improvement clinic. License suspension, just like jail time, does not occur regularly and in the average reckless driving cases. It is usually very common in high-speed cases.
Likewise, when a judge suspends a reckless driver’s license, the judge may provide the reckless driver a restricted license. This license allows the reckless driver to drive only for specific purposes and under specific conditions such as, but not limited to, going to work, school, or for health reasons. Such a license most certainly eases the case for a reckless driver, but it is of major importance the that drivers understand that such licenses are not always given.
Another form of a reckless driving offense penalty is adding demerit points to the driver’s driving record. Such points stay on the driver’s driving record for a period of 11 years. Reckless driving carries the maximum amount of demerit points for any offense committed in Virginia. The court usually assesses six demerit points for reckless driving.