In Virginia, a reckless driving violation can be assigned for a variety of improper driving actions. Many acts or failures to act will garner you a reckless driving charge in Virginia. If you have received a reckless driving ticket in Virginia, you should familiarize yourself with Virginia traffic law.
What is Reckless Driving?
Reckless driving in Virginia is defined as operating a motor vehicle in such a way that risks the lives or properties of others and yourself.
The number one basis for a charge of reckless driving is exceeding the speed limit. In Virginia, it is reckless driving if you are going over 80 MPH anywhere in the Commonwealth. Going 20 MPH over the posted speed limit is also cause for a reckless driving charge. The highest posted speed limit in the Commonwealth is 65 MPH, but 81 in a 65 is still technically reckless endangerment. A police officer can also decide you are driving recklessly fast at his or her own discretion.
Fines and Penalties
Fines and penalties for reckless driving vary depending on the specific situation, such as repeat offenses or a poor driving history. It is important to remember that the strictest penalties are not always enforced and that having a Virginia traffic defense attorney can help to reduce your charge. Some of the more severe penalties for reckless driving in Virginia include:
- Your Virginia driver’s license can be suspended for up to 6 months
- You can lose your right to drive in Virginia for 6 months if you are an out-of-state driver
- Fines of up to $2,500 are possible
- 6-Point violation assigned to your driver’s license
State motor vehicle departments often communicate about license suspensions, so you may find your license suspended in your home state after a Virginia conviction for reckless driving. If you were driving more than 85 MPH, you are likely to have your license suspended. If you exceed 100 MPH, you could face time in jail.
Examples of Reckless Driving
Driving in any way that is a danger to life and/or property is reckless driving, no matter how fast you are going. You can incur a charge even if you are simply driving faster than an officer thinks the traffic conditions require. Here are some examples of situation where a reckless driving violation could be assigned:
- If a properly outfitted school bus, whether carrying students or handicapped adults, is stopped to discharge passengers, you must stop according to the law. Passing these vehicles is against the law and considered reckless driving. Similarly, you may not pass an emergency vehicle that is using its indicator lights or audio signals. Moreover, you must pull off to the shoulder as quickly as safely manageable. Passing any vehicle at the crest of a grade or in the midst of a curve is also prohibited. Highways with two or more designated lanes do not fall under this law.
- Passing improperly is extensively covered under reckless driving law in Virginia. Passing at a railroad grade crossing unless on a road with two or more lanes in each direction is reckless driving unless lights or traffic officers permit you to do so. Passing two vehicles that are driving abreast of each other is reckless driving unless there are three or more lanes in each direction. If one or more of those vehicles, including the passing vehicle, is an electric personal mobility device, electric bicycle, moped or bicycle, this regulation does not apply.
- Racing on any road, driveway, church, school, recreational or business property is against the law. Convictions will result in a driver’s license suspension of 6 months to 2 years.
- You can be charged with reckless driving for driving a vehicle with faulty brakes on any road in Virginia. Other vehicle issues that can lead to a charge include overloading your vehicle in such a way that obstructs your vision or ability to control your vehicle. This includes too many passengers. Not signaling properly whether your signal is broken or not is also reckless driving.
- With the exception of parades, vehicles cannot drive two abreast, including motorcycles. Mopeds, bicycles and personal mobility devices do not apply.
- Not yielding to vehicles that have the right of way is reckless driving under Virginia law.
How we can help you
Reckless driving is a serious traffic violation in Virginia. It is important that you protect your rights by consulting with an experienced Virginia traffic defense attorney in order to ensure the best possible results for your case. A virginia traffic defense attorney can help you decide the best course of action as well appeal to the courts for a lesser charge.
Have You Been Charged With A Traffic Violation In Virginia, Maryland or Washington D.C.?
If you've been charged with a traffic violation you need to speak with an experienced traffic defense lawyer as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Vienna, Virgnia office directly at 703.991.7978 or our Rockville, Maryland office at 301.637.5392 to schedule your free case consultation.