The monotony of driving can lead to distraction and questionable decisions. For example, a driver bored with their daily commute may be more likely to exceed the speed limit or engage in other dangerous activities, such as texting at the wheel. For Virginia drivers, those questionable decisions can often carry very serious consequences.
Drivers who might expect to face nothing more than a speeding ticket if they get stopped by law enforcement could instead find themselves facing reckless driving misdemeanor charges. Reckless driving allegations are more serious than a standard traffic violation and can sometimes can even be a felony. They require a court appearance and can continue to affect your driving record for more than a decade if you wind up convicted or plead guilty to the charges.
Many different actions can qualify as reckless driving
There are many ways that a driver could catch the attention of law enforcement and find themselves facing reckless driving charges. In fact, thanks to a number of automated cameras on highways and major thoroughfares, law enforcement officers don’t even have to stop you for you to wind up charged with reckless driving.
The single most common cause for charges is exceeding 80 mph on the road. Even if you drive on a roadway with a posted speed limit of 65 mph, meaning you are only going 16 mph over the speed limit, anytime your speed exceeds 80 mph in Virginia, you could wind up charged with reckless driving.
Other situations where you could wind up facing reckless driving charges include:
- Exceeding the posted speed limit by 20 mph or more
- Racing other vehicles
- Passing an emergency vehicle
- Passing a stopped school bus
- Passing on the top of a hill
- Driving with an obstructed view
Reckless driving isn’t something you want to ignore
A reckless driving conviction or guilty plea will mean that you have to deal with six points on your license. Those points will likely mean state fees and higher insurance rates. Unlike many other traffic infractions, reckless driving records stay on your permanent record for 11 years.
That means more than a decade of paying heightened insurance rates and worrying about qualifying for a job if it has any sort of driving component. It is typically in your best interest to push back against reckless driving charges. In some cases, you may be able to defeat the charges entirely.
Other times, prosecutors may reduce the charges you face to a simple traffic infraction instead of a criminal defense. Talking about the circumstances that led to allegations of reckless driving with an experienced criminal defense attorney will inform you of your options.