Out-Of-State Reckless Driving Ticket In VA
Virginia law defines reckless driving as any behavior that puts other people at risk of injury or death. Virginia has some of the harshest traffic laws in the U.S., and law enforcement and prosecutors in Virginia take reckless driving charges seriously.
Getting out of a reckless driving charge is not as simple as paying a fine and moving on if you are an out-of-state driver. Therefore, it’s imperative that you get help from an experienced reckless driving lawyer as soon as possible to help minimize the impact this charge can have on your future.
Impact of Virginia Reckless Driving Charges on Out-Of-State Drivers
If you are an out-of-state driver who has been charged with reckless driving in Virginia, you have some important ramifications to consider.
Reckless driving is a criminal conviction, and it will follow you to your home state. That means that anytime you apply for a job, the conviction could appear on a background check. A criminal conviction could severely hinder your chances of securing employment in the future. If you attempt to apply for a house, finding a place to live may be more difficult due to a criminal conviction. You also could have issues getting a security clearance due to a reckless driving conviction.
If you are convicted of reckless driving in Virginia, you could receive further penalties in your state, depending on where you live. For example, New Jersey drivers convicted of reckless driving in Virginia may face an additional fine called a “surcharge” when they return home if they already have too many points on their license.
Virginia Reckless Driving Laws
Virginia law dictates that a driver can be charged with reckless driving if they exceed the posted speed limit by 20 miles per hour (mph) or more and may be charged with reckless driving if they exceed 80 mph on any Virginia highway regardless of the speed limit.
Other types of reckless driving behavior may result in a reckless driving charge in Virginia as well. Any driving activity that puts other people in danger of injury or death can be considered reckless. Some examples of the behaviors that you could be cited for include:
- Failure to yield the right-of-way
- Street racing
- Passing other cars illegally
- Operating a vehicle with bad brakes
- Operating a truck that is overweight or overloaded
- Driving too fast for conditions (such as driving too fast in fog, snow, or heavy traffic)
- Passing an emergency vehicle or a stopped school bus
- “Burning rubber” or spinning wheels
- Failing to signal to other drivers
Reckless Driving Charges for Out-Of-State Drivers
Reckless driving is a Class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia. It is more serious than a simple traffic citation for speeding or following too closely. If you are an out-of-state driver and you are charged with reckless driving, you could face:
- Up to one year in jail if convicted
- A fine of $2,500 if convicted
- License suspension for up to six months
- Six points on your driver’s license
You will also be required to appear in court to attend a hearing, which you should not fail to show up for. If you live out of state, you might need to travel back to Virginia to attend the hearing unless you have an attorney. Your lawyer may be able to make an appearance in court in your place.
Do The Same Penalties Apply to Out-Of-State Drivers?
If you are convicted of reckless driving in Virginia, you take your conviction home when you return to your home state. Under the Interstate Driver License Compact, participating states share information about a motorist’s traffic violations with other states.
So, if you receive a conviction for reckless driving in Virginia, the state would send information about your conviction to your home state.
All states that are part of the Interstate Driver License Compact have agreed to treat out-of-state convictions for traffic violations as if the offense occurred in their state, meaning that you would likely face the same penalties in your home state.
I Live Out-Of-State. What Should I Do?
If you’re an out-of-state driver who has been charged with reckless driving in Virginia, an attorney may be able to attend a hearing as your representative so that you don’t have to travel back to Virginia for it.
You should hire a lawyer who has experience defending reckless driving charges in the jurisdiction where you are charged. The attorney will be able to determine if they can appear in court on your behalf. If your attorney is not permitted to attend the hearing in your place, then you will likely need to make travel arrangements to return to Virginia.
An attorney from your home state is likely not licensed to practice law in Virginia. That means they cannot represent you on your Virginia reckless driving charge unless the court allows them to associate with a Virginia lawyer specifically to handle the matter. Even if your home state lawyer is licensed in Virginia, they may not be as familiar with the system as a local lawyer who handles traffic tickets here all the time.
How a Virginia Reckless Driving Attorney Can Help
Consulting with an attorney is imperative if you are fighting a reckless driving charge in Virginia. Attempting to go it alone could end up costing you dearly. An experienced and skilled reckless driving attorney can evaluate and investigate your case, help you craft a winning legal strategy, defend you in court, and fight to have your charges reduced to a simple traffic violation or some other lesser charge.
Contact Our Experienced Reckless Driving Ticket Lawyer in Virginia Today
If you are from another state and have been charged with reckless driving in Virginia, contact the experienced traffic violation defense attorney at Upton Law, PLLC. Samantha is equipped to help out-of-state visitors defend against traffic violations. She is ready to put her local knowledge and skills to work to help you.
Contact Upton Law, PLLC, now for a free confidential consultation.