In Virginia, careless or dangerous driving may be considered “reckless driving” and the violation is considered to be a very serious traffic offense. It is usually charged as a misdemeanor that is punishable by a fine and/or jail. However, if a driver in Virginia is judged to have caused a serious or fatal accident due to extreme carelessness, the reckless driving charge may receive felony penalties which a much more severe.
What is Considered Felony Reckless Driving?
Reckless driving may be charged for a number of infractions, such as running a red light, speeding, or passing a stopped school bus. However, if the driver’s action causes serious injury or death, the charge becomes felony reckless driving. Under Virginia Code 46.2.868, it is a Class 6 felony.
Reckless Driving with a Suspended or Revoked License
Reckless driving becomes a Class 6 felony in Virginia if:
- The driver has a suspended or revoked license.
- The reckless driver’s action was the main and only cause of someone’s death.
In addition, a mandatory minimum fine of $250 is added if the driver was texting or reading email on a cell phone or other handheld device at the time of the accident. Penalties for a Class 6 conviction include 1-5 years in prison and/or a maximum fine of $2,500. However, under Virginia Code 18.2.10, a judge or jury can sentence the convicted person to less than 12 months in jail. In addition, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles will add six demerit points for a conviction, which will remain on the person’s driving record for 11 years.
Felony Reckless Driving Involving Racing
If a driver kills or seriously injures someone while he or she is involved in an illegal race, Virginia imposes even stiffer penalties. This type of reckless driving, covered by Virginia Code 46.2.865, includes racing two or more vehicles on any highway, driveway, or any church, school, recreational facility or business property that is open to the public. for more information on raving in Virginia, visit:
Driving in a race becomes a Class 6 felony if the defined race causes serious injury to someone who is not involved in the activity. If a death results in the race, the convicted driver faces at least a mandatory one-year minimum in jail plus the possibility of 20 years in prison. Anyone found guilty of any type of illegal race in Virginia will be given a mandatory three-year license suspension and six demerit points that become part of his or her driving record for 11 years.
We Are Ready To Represent You!
The conditions under which reckless driving becomes a punishable felony in the Commonwealth of Virginia are described, including prison time and fines. If you have received a charge for felony reckless driving in Virginia – contact The Brown Firm PLLC immediately. In court proceedings, it is essential that you have qualified legal representation. A legal professional can help ensure the best possible result for your case by protecting your rights in court or, by negotiating for a less severe penalty. The traffic defense attorneys at The Brown Firm PLLC have extensive experience defending in individuals in court proceedings.
We offer free initial consultations so that you can discuss your case with a licensed Virginia traffic defense lawyer. To discuss your case or learn more about our services, call our offices and set up your free consultation today.