Reckless Driving Lawyer in Richmond, VA
You may not realize it, but in Virginia, reckless driving is considered a criminal offense rather than a simple traffic infraction. As a result, if you are cited for reckless driving, you face more than just a simple fine. You also face the possibility of incarceration and suspension of your driver’s license. That’s why you need an experienced Richmond reckless driving lawyer to give you a straightforward assessment of your case and your options for defending yourself.
Contact Upton Law, PLLC today for a free case review with Richmond traffic and criminal defense attorney Samantha Upton. She will review the details of your case and discuss how she can help you protect yourself in the face of a reckless driving charge in Richmond.
What Is Reckless Driving?
In Virginia, reckless driving is considered a criminal offense, even though you may be charged with the offense by a police officer issuing you a paper citation. Under Virginia Code § 46.2-852, reckless driving is defined as driving “a vehicle on any highway recklessly or at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person.”
The Virginia Code goes on to specify various types of actions or conduct that constitute reckless driving. Examples of reckless driving behavior under the statute include:
- Failure to maintain control of a vehicle, or having faulty brakes
- Passing on or at the crest of a grade or curve
- Driving with an obstructed view or interfered ability to control the vehicle
- Passing two vehicles abreast of one another (except on three-lane-plus highways)
- Driving abreast of another vehicle in the same traffic lane
- Passing at railroad crossing
- Passing a stopped school bus
- Failure to give proper signals
- Driving 20 mph above the posted speed limit, or driving above 85 mph
- Driving too fast for conditions
- Failing to Stop
Reckless driving is also often cited following a motor vehicle accident.
Consequences of Reckless Driving in Richmond
In Virginia, reckless driving is normally charged as a Class 1 misdemeanor. A conviction for a Class 1 misdemeanor may result in a sentence of up to 12 months in jail, a 6-month license suspension, and a possible fine of up to $2,500.
If you commit a reckless driving offense while your driver’s license was suspended or revoked due to a moving violation, and your reckless driving leads to another person’s death, you may instead be charged with a Class 6 felony. Conviction for a Class 6 felony can carry a possible sentence of one to five years in prison, along with a fine of up to $2,500. If you were using a hand-held electronic device, such as a cellphone, during a reckless driving offense, you will also be subject to a mandatory minimum fine of $250.
A reckless driving conviction also results in the imposition of six demerit points on your Virginia driving record. Accumulating 12 demerit points in 12 months or 18 points in 24 months will result in a requirement to complete a driver improvement clinic and being placed on DMV probation for a period of six months. A reckless driving conviction when you are 18 or 19 years old will also require you to complete a driver improvement clinic.
If you are under the age of 18, this will require you to complete a driver improvement clinic within 90 days or face suspension of your license until you complete the clinic. If the conviction represents your second demerit point violation, you will have a 90-day suspension of your driving privileges. A third offense results in revocation of your license for one year or until you turn age 18, whichever is longer.
A criminal conviction for reckless driving can also have long-lasting consequences on your personal and professional life. A reckless driving conviction can interfere with your employment, especially if you are required to drive as part of your job duties, or if your reckless driving offense results in the suspension or revocation of your driver’s license. A conviction will also show up on background checks, which may cause you to lose out on employment, housing, or educational opportunities.
Common Defenses to a Reckless Driving Charge
As with a criminal charge, the Commonwealth must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that your behavior behind the wheel constituted reckless driving. As a result, you may have defenses to challenge each element of your reckless driving offense, which may result in dismissal or acquittal of your charges. Possible defenses to a reckless driving charge include:
- You were not driving more than 20 mph above the posted speed limit or above 85 mph (since proof of the speed limit must be established for a conviction).
- There is insufficient evidence of your vehicle’s speed at the time of the alleged reckless driving offense.
- If you were cited for reckless driving following a motor vehicle accident, the officer did not observe the accident or the manner in which you were allegedly driving recklessly. Merely being involved in or causing an accident cannot, by itself, prove that you were driving recklessly.
You might also obtain an acquittal or a reduced charge of improper driving or a reduced sentence if you can show that you were speeding due to a legitimate emergency situation such as trying to rush a loved one to the hospital.
How a Richmond Reckless Driving Attorney Can Help You
Richmond reckless driving attorney Samantha Upton can help you face your charge by:
- Offering a realistic assessment of your case, including the possible outcomes and options for defending yourself against the reckless driving charge
- Thoroughly investigating the facts of your case to review all available evidence and prepare a legal strategy
- Negotiating for a dismissal or reduction of your charge to a less-serious offense
- Defending you at trial, if necessary
- Taking care of all the details from start to finish, which eases the burden on you, especially if you are an out-of-state driver who is facing a charge in Virginia
Talk to a Reckless Driving Attorney in Richmond Now
If you have received a citation or been charged with reckless driving in Richmond, contact Upton Law, PLLC today for a free, no-obligation consultation with a reckless driving attorney. Learn more about what you can do to defend yourself against your charge and to mitigate or avoid the serious consequences of a reckless driving conviction.