The Commonwealth of Virginia considers reckless driving to be a very serious traffic violation. This includes both willful and neglectful driving behaviors. Anyone that unsafely operates a vehicle that could result in personal or property damage may be charged with reckless driving. Driving over 80 MPH or 20 MPH above the posted speed limit is also considered reckless driving. Drivers found guilty of reckless driver will face monetary fines, driver license citations and license or driving suspensions.
Reckless driving also applies to specific driving situations and driver reactions, such as passing a stopped bus or moving emergency vehicle with lights and siren on. Racing, improper passing and driving with faulty brakes all fall under Virginia’s reckless driving law. A licensed and qualified traffic defense attorney can protect your rights while helping you navigate the complex legal system. Depending on the unique circumstances of your case, a traffic defense lawyer may be able to have your charges lessened or in some cases, dropped entirely.
What is Reckless Driving?
Virginia legislature defines reckless driving as the act of operating a motor vehicle in a way that risks the lives or properties of others and yourself. A reckless driving violation in Virginia can be cited for different, unsafe driving actions. This includes both willful actions and negligent failures on the part of the driver. Anyone who has received a reckless driving ticket should familiarize themselves with Virginia’s traffic laws, which are discussed below.
How is Speeding related to Reckless Driving?
The leading basis for a reckless driving citation is exceeding the speed limit. In Virginia, anyone driving over 80 MPH is considered to be driving recklessly. In addition to this, anyone who exceeds the posted speed limit by 20 MPH can also be charged with reckless driving. Keep in mind that the highest posted speed limit in Virginia 65 MPH. Therefore, anyone driving at 81 MPH in a 65 MPH zone is technically guilty of reckless endangerment. Anyone driving over 85 MPH will likely have their license suspended. Anyone driving over 100 MPH will also face possible jail time. Law enforcement officers can also use their discretion to determine if you were driving recklessly fast.
What are the Possible Fines and Penalties?
The drivers’ specific reckless driving incident will determine the exact fine or penalty amount. Previous circumstances, such as repeat offenses or a poor driving history, can increase the penalty severity. Since the strictest penalties aren’t always enforced, a Virginia traffic defense attorney can help to reduce the charges. Some of the most severe reckless driving penalties include:
- Possible fines of up to $2,500
- A 6-Point violation cited on your driver’s license
- License suspension for up to 6 months (for residents of VA)
- Driving suspension in Virginia for up to 6 months (for out-of-state drivers)
State DMVs regularly communicate with each other concerning license suspensions. As a result, your license may be suspended by your home state DMV after your reckless driving conviction in Virginia. For full information on Virginia Reckless Driving penalties, visit:
Examples of Reckless Driving
The essence of reckless driving is operating a motor vehicle in a way that is dangerous to both life and property. This means that the driver may be under the speed limit, but still driving recklessly according to the surrounding traffic conditions. In addition to driving over 80 mph or driving 20 mph above the speed limit, here are some additional examples of reckless driving in Virginia:
- Stopped School Bus: Any school bus that is stopped to discharge passengers, whether carrying students or handicapped adults, cannot be passed. A driver may also not pass an emergency vehicle that is using its lights or signals. Instead, they must safely pull over to the shoulder of the road. Finally, passing any vehicle at the top of a grade or in the middle of a curve is also considered reckless driving. Keep in mind that this law does not apply to highways with two or more lanes.
- Improper Passing: Virginia law has very specific situations where improper passing is considered reckless driving. Passing at a railroad grade crossing that does not have two or more lanes in each direction is reckless driving. The only exception is if when permitted by traffic lights or a traffic officer. Unless there are three or more lines in one direction, the drivers cannot pass two vehicles that are abreast of each other. However, this rule does not apply if one or more of the vehicles is a moped, bicycle, electric bicycle or an electric personal mobility device,
- Racing: Racing on any road is against the law. This includes driveways, churches, schools and recreational or business property. Any racing convictions will result in a driver’s license suspension of 6 months to 2 years. To learn more about specific guidelines for racing in Virginia, visit our informational page on Racing in Virginia.
- Faulty brakes: Driving with faulty brakes on any road is considered reckless driving in Virginia.
- Overloading your vehicle in a way that obstructions your vision or ability to control your vehicle is reckless driving.
- Failure to properly signal or failing to yield to a vehicle that has the right of way is considered reckless driving.
- Driving abreast with another vehicle is reckless driving. However, this does not apply to parades or mopeds, bicycles and personal mobility devices.
How Our Firm Can Help You
Reckless driving is a very serious legal violation in Virginia. However, drivers who have received a reckless driving citation can protect their rights by consulting with an experienced traffic defense attorney. If you are facing a charge for reckless driving in Virginia – contact The Brown Law Firm PLLC right away. Our experienced traffic defense attorneys are prepared to exhaust all legal means available in order to get you the best result for your case.
We are prepared to defend your rights in court while pursuing dismissal of your charges, or less sever penalties. Call our office or contact us online to set up a free consultation to discuss your options.