Alexandria, Virginia traffic offenses may range anywhere from a minor infraction to a misdemeanor to a felony. Convictions for certain traffic offenses can result in a criminal record that will follow you for the rest of your life. You can face the loss your driver’s license, substantial fines, and even go to jail. Certain convictions can result in demerit points on your driving record that may cause your insurance rates to go up or your insurance policy to cancel your coverage.
It is all too easy to be charged with Reckless Driving in the state of Virginia. Many people don’t think anything of driving over 80 mph on Interstates, but inVirginia this is a serious matter than can result in a reckless driving charge.
What Constitutes Reckless Driving in Virginia?
Virginia Code identifies Reckless Driving in several manners. The most frequently charged offenses are reckless generally and reckless by speed. The elements of these two offenses are different, but the potential ramifications are the same. Both of these charges are Class 1 Misdemeanors. This means that they are actually criminal charges, not traffic infractions. As a criminal charge, a conviction for such may require disclosure of the conviction to future employers and could result in the loss of a security clearance.
What Are the Penalties For Reckless Driving?
Both are punishable by up to 12 months in jail and up to $2,500 in fines. Additionally, a conviction for either of these charges may result in a suspension of your privilege to drive in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Finally, if convicted of these charges, DMV will assess 6 demerit points on your driving record.
What all this means for the person who is convicted of these crimes is long-lasting effects that extend way beyond those of a mere speeding ticket. First of all, if the conviction is for reckless by speed and the defendant is convicted of driving in excess of 80 miles per hour, many jurisdictions require a day in jail for every mile an hour over 80. In addition to the excessive fines the defendant may face if convicted, insurances companies across the board are known for increasing premiums or evencancelling coverage for those individuals convicted of reckless driving.
If the court suspends a defendant’s driving privilege because of a reckless driving conviction, that person will not be able to obtain a restricted license. And if caught driving during that license suspension period, that will constitute a separate criminal charge.
In order to be convicted for reckless driving generally, the Commonwealth must prove that the defendant drove in such a manner to endanger the life, limb or property of another person, irrespective of posted speed limits. In order to be convicted for reckless driving by speed, the Commonwealth must prove that the defendant drove a motor vehicle at a speed in excess of 80 miles per hour, regardless of the posted speed limit or that the defendant drove a motor vehicle at a speed greater than 20 miles per hour over the posted speed limit.