Do you need a reckless driving lawyer in Culpeper County or Orange County?
Before we answer that question, you need to understand what a Virginia reckless driving ticket is:
- It is a criminal offense
- It carries a maximum fine of $2500
- It carries a maximum jail sentence of 6 months
- It carries a maximum suspension of your license of 6 months in Virginia
- Six points on your license
The question that still remains is what is reckless driving in Virginia?
Any driving behavior that endangers life, limb or property is reckless driving. There are 14 types these crimes in the Commonwealth of VA.
The most common types of these offenses are reckless driving by speed (VA 46.2-862), Failing to maintain control of a vehicle (VA 46.2-853) and reckless driving generally (VA 46.2-852).
Reckless driving by speed occurs when you drive in excess of 80 miles regardless of the posted speed limit or drive in excess of 20 miles over the posted speed limit.
Reckless driving generally is truly any kind of driving behavior that endangers life, limb or property.
The following are some of the other types of Virginia reckless driving offenses:
passing a stopped school bus, drag racing, etc.
Reckless Driving Is charged about 10 to 200 times a month in each county in Virginia. In smaller counties such as Orange County or Culpeper County, reckless driving tickets are prosecuted about 50 times a month at a minimum. The size of the county and the traffic going through the county determines how many cases are prosecuted each month. Also, more often than not, you see out of state drivers prosecuted for reckless driving in counties such as Culpeper and Orange.
We tell clients all the time, that while being charged with reckless driving is not unusual, it is a traffic crime and should be taken seriously. This is a Class 1 misdemeanor.
What does this mean to you – Don’t wait to the last minute to hire a Virginia reckless driving lawyer. This is not something you can just pay and forget about it. If you don’t hire a skilled traffic ticket attorney, you may end up with massive fines, a suspended license, and even jail time.
Additionally, a criminal conviction for reckless driving can result in collateral consequences, such as loss of your security clearance or hamper your ability to change your immigration status. If you are a pilot, doctor or law enforcement officer, a conviction for this type of traffic ticket may even result in the loss of your job, the loss of certain benefits or housing rights. In some cases, it may even affect your ability to find a job.
How To Tell If You Have Been Charged With Reckless Driving By Looking At Your Ticket
Look at the “charges” or “law section” part of the ticket. If it lists any codes between § 46.2-852 and § 46.2-869, or if you see the letters “RD,” the ticket is for reckless driving.
If an officer stopped you for speeding, make sure to take note of the speed written on the ticket. If it’s more than 20 miles over the speed limit, or over 80 mph total, the ticket is most likely charged a Virginia Uniform Summons for reckless driving. A Virginia Uniform Summons is just a fancy way of saying traffic ticket.
In counties such as Fairfax, Orange, Culpeper, Stafford, Hanover, Henrico and Chesterfield, an officer might scratch out the prepayment information on the ticket to further ensure you know you have to go to court. However, this is not true everywhere in Virginia.
What Are The Consequences For Reckless Driving In Virginia?
If you are convicted of reckless driving in Virginia, there are one or more severe penalties that you will face:
The most basic consequences a first time offender will face is in terms of penalties are a fine, 6 points on your license, and may be a suspension of your license for up to 6 months.
Note To Client – This is assuming you were not exceeding the speed limit by more than 25 miles over the posted speed limit or you did not exceed 87 miles per hour. In jurisdictions like Fairfax County, Orange County and Culpeper County to name a few, if you exceed 25 miles over the posted speed limit or 87 miles per hour, you need to seriously think about getting a Virginia reckless driving lawyer to help you.
What Is Considered A Substantial Fine For Reckless Driving First Time Offenders?
If you are convicted of reckless driving Virginia Uniform Summons, the fine will range from about $350-$500 plus court costs.
If you are a repeat offender, then you could very easily end up paying the maximum fine of $2500.
How Many Points on Your License and How Long Is The License Suspension?
Any Virginia court that finds you guilty of reckless driving, will send your conviction to the Virginia DMV and the DMV will place six demerit points on your license. These points will normally remain on your license for six years.
Note To Client – A reckless driving conviction will stay on your driving record for 11 years.
If you receive a certain amount of points within one year, the DMV will automatically suspend or revoke your license.
For example, if a reckless driving conviction puts you over eight points in one year, or twelve points within two years, you will lose your license.
Even if your conviction doesn’t result you violating the DMV’s point limit, a judge can still decide to suspend your license anyway for up to six months. In counties such as Fairfax, Orange, Culpeper, Stafford, Hanover, Henrico and Chesterfield, Judges don’t hesitate to suspend your license for a period of time.
How long do you go to jail for reckless driving?
In addition to the penalties above, you may face up to one year of jail time for a reckless driving conviction. However, most first-time offenders can avoid jail by instead performing community service.
Typically, judges will assign jail time to repeat offenders, racers, and those going over 95 mph. As with license suspension.
Collateral Consequences of a Reckless Driving Charge
Collateral consequences are additional penalties you might face as a result of being convicted of reckless driving in Virginia.
If you have a security clearance, you need to be extremely concerned about Virginia Uniform Summons for reckless driving. Why, because it is a crime, it can often show up on background checks, which can affect your ability to maintain your security clearance.
If you are a pilot, a conviction for reckless driving will result you in being grounded for a period of time.
If you are a doctor, then a conviction of reckless driving will result in the AMA being notified about the same.
If you are peace officer, your command is going to be notified of your reckless driving conviction.
You should speak with your lawyer about any and all collateral consequences of a reckless driving conviction before your trial date.
In Virginia, most of the above penalties apply equally to in-state and out-of-state drivers. Even if you live in another state, you might have to show up in the Virginia court listed on your ticket on your assigned day.
Another collateral consequence that applies to out of state drivers is the action your state is going to take against you in addition to the pound of flesh that Virginia already took from you. You may be asking why your state may get involved?
This is because most states subscribe to the Interstate Driver’s License Compact. Basically, this compact says that a state can treat a criminal traffic charge from another state as if it occurred in their own jurisdiction.
In other words, if you are an out of state driver, your home state will penalize your license based on its own reckless driving laws, not Virginia’s. This is particularly relevant for North Carolina residents, who may suffer an immediate 30-day license suspension.
What should you do if you get a reckless driving ticket in Virginia?
The honest answer is at least talk to a Virginia reckless driving lawyer. An experienced attorney can tell you what you will most likely face in court and whether you really need to hire a lawyer.
Counties such as Fairfax, Orange, Culpeper, Stafford, Hanover, Henrico and Chesterfield are some of the counties where you will most likely be better off with an attorney than without one. Why do I say that, the reason is that these counties are extremely tough on reckless driving tickets. Call our firm at 888-437-7747 for help today.