Reckless Driving Defense Attorney in Virginia
A person can face a reckless driving charge in a variety of situations, including after a motor vehicle accident. This is a serious offense in Virginia. It is charged as a misdemeanor or rather than as a simple traffic infraction. The consequences of a conviction could include jail time as well as a license suspension and hefty fines and fees. In addition to a potential sentence, a conviction for reckless driving can leave you with a criminal record that can impact your personal and professional life.
Whether you are a Virginia resident or a driver from out of state, if you have been charged with this offense, it is critical for you to talk with a Virginia reckless driving attorney as soon as possible. You may be able to contest the charges or seek a reduction or dismissal of your case, which will help to mitigate or avoid some of the most serious consequences of a reckless driving conviction.
To learn more about how an attorney can help you, contact Upton Law, PLLC. You will speak with a knowledgeable Virginia reckless driving lawyer who will provide straightforward legal advice and explore all the possible solutions to your legal problems. Attorney Samantha Upton is always available to discuss your case in a free and confidential consultation. Get started today.
What Is Considered Reckless Driving?
Under Virginia Code § 46.2-852, reckless driving is generally defined as operating a motor vehicle “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 actions and behaviors on the road that may constitute reckless driving, including:
- Exceeding the speed limit
- Driving too fast for road or traffic conditions
- Failing to maintain proper control of the vehicle
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Failing to give proper signals
- Driving with an obstructed view
- Passing a stopped school bus
- Passing on or at the crest of a grade or curve
Penalties for Reckless Driving
Generally, reckless driving is charged as a Class 1 misdemeanor. However, if an act of reckless driving occurs when the offender had a suspended or revoked driver’s license due to a moving violation, and the act of reckless driving results in someone else’s death, the act may be charged as a Class 6 felony.
A conviction for a Class 1 misdemeanor carries a potential sentence of up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. However, the penalty for a Class 6 felony can include a prison sentence of one to five years, in addition to a potential fine of up to $2,500. The reckless driving statute further provides that any conviction must also carry a minimum fine of $250.
A reckless driving conviction will also result in the Virginia DMV adding six demerit points to your driving record. The demerit points will remain on your driving record for years. The record of conviction itself stays for up to 11 years.
Finally, a reckless driving conviction record can have consequences for your professional life, including potential disqualification from operating a commercial vehicle if you hold a CDL.
Common Defenses to a Reckless Driving Charge
Depending on the facts and circumstances of your case, you may have legal and factual defenses available to contest your reckless driving charge, including:
- Inadequate or no proof of speeding – When you are charged with reckless driving due to a speeding infraction, you may be able to challenge the state’s evidence that you were speeding, including a lack of evidence establishing the speed limit on the road where you were stopped.
- You had an emergency – If you were speeding due to a legitimate emergency such as trying to get to the hospital, that may serve as mitigating evidence against a reckless driving charge.
- Insufficient evidence – You may have been cited for reckless driving by a police officer following an accident. However, to convict you for reckless driving, the state will need to prove that you were driving at a speed or in a manner that threatened life, limb, or property. If the citing officer did not witness the accident, it may be hard for the officer to explain the specific actions allegedly committed by you that constituted reckless driving. You may also be able to challenge whether people or their property were actually endangered by your alleged actions.
Some judges or prosecutors may agree to reduce a reckless driving charge to a less serious charge of improper driving, particularly if you have no other driving infractions. Some courts may also dismiss a reckless driving charge if you successfully complete a driving improvement clinic.
How a Virginia Reckless Driving Lawyer Can Help You
If you face a charge of reckless driving, attorney Samantha Upton can help you by:
- Providing an honest and straightforward assessment of your case, including potential and likely outcomes and options and legal defenses available to you
- Reviewing your case and driving record and providing you with a thorough explanation of possible consequences from a conviction
- Handling every detail of your case, especially if you live outside of Virginia
- Raising legal or factual defenses to your charge or presenting other mitigating evidence that could lead to the reduction or dismissal of your charges
- Exploring alternative resolutions to your case such as attending driver improvement courses
Facing a reckless driving charge can create enough stress for you. That’s why, at Upton Law, PLLC, you will be treated with the professionalism and compassion that you deserve. You will also have the peace of mind that comes with a flat fee for the legal representation that you need. You won’t have to worry about your case costing more than you expected ─ no matter how much legal work goes into resolving your reckless driving charge.
Talk to a Reckless Driving Attorney in Virginia Now
If you have been cited or arrested for reckless driving in Richmond or elsewhere in Virginia, you need to act quickly to potentially avoid the serious consequences that can come from a conviction. Virginia reckless driving attorney Samantha Upton will provide you with an honest assessment of your case and will be ready to aggressively defend you. Contact Upton Law, PLLC today to get started with a free and confidential consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions
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Out-of-state drivers are subject to the same penalties as Virginia residents if convicted of reckless driving. In fact, some out-of-state drivers face additional penalties or license suspensions from their home state once the conviction transfers to their out-of-state driving record. A reckless driving conviction will not stay in Virginia. It will follow you back to your home state and remain part of your driving and criminal record.
Whether you’re charged with a felony or misdemeanor, the maximum fine for a reckless driving ticket in Virginia is $2,500. The actual fine imposed depends on the court and the details of the case. However, you could also be required to pay court costs and other expenses if you’re convicted.
The number of demerit points you could receive for a reckless driving conviction depends on the offense. According to the Virginia DMV, reckless driving for failing to stop before entering a highway could add four points to your license. However, in most cases, a reckless driving charge will add six points to your license. In extreme cases, a reckless driving charge could lead to the suspension of your driver’s license.
If convicted, Reckless driving typically stays on your driving record in Virginia for 11 years. Your driving record is separate from your criminal record and a reckless driving conviction may result in a permanent criminal record.