15 Ways to Get a Reckless Driving in VirginiaSwango Law P.C
Virginia takes reckless driving seriously. Drivers convicted are guilty of committing a class 1 criminal charge, the same criminal classification as a DUI/DWI conviction. Criminal charges can stay on your record for years, and can have a huge impact on your lifestyle. Professionals who need security clearances for their occupation may lose those authorizations. Military or government contractors, who deal with sensitive matters, may not be able to get required sanctions. Insurance costs significantly raise. Unfortunately, many driving behaviors that are considered traffic violations in other states, are categorized as reckless driving in Virginia. The following are fifteen ways to get charged with reckless driving in Virginia.
Reckless Driving Tickets in Virginia
A reckless driving ticket comes with the possibility of a $2,500 fine, a six-month license suspension, up to a year in jail, and a permanent criminal record. Following is a list of all fifteen of the Virginia Codes that deal with reckless driving:
- § 46.2-862 applies to speeding
- § 46.2-852 applies to any reckless driving
- § 46.2-864 applies to parking lots, driveways, and premises of churches, schools, public buildings, industrial establishments, and highways not yet open to the public
- § 46.2-829 relates to overtaking or passing emergency vehicles that are operating their lights or siren
- § 46.2-853 relates to operating a vehicle “not properly under control or with “inadequate or improperly adjusted” brakes
- § 46.2-854 relates to passing or overtaking a vehicle on a curve, or approaching a grade or crest
- § 46.2-855 applies to driving a vehicle that is loaded in such a way as to obstruct the driver’s view or prevent proper control of the vehicle
- § 46.2-856 involves passing two vehicles abreast, going the same direction
- § 46.2-857 applies to driving two abreast in a single lane, in the same direction
- § 46.2-858 is used for drivers guilty of overtaking or passing at a railroad crossing
- § 46.2-859 is used when a driver fails to stop for a school bus
- § 46.2-860 is used when drivers fail to give an adequate or timely signal when turning, slowing down, or stopping;
- § 46.2-861 applies to drivers who are driving too fast for conditions
- § 46.2-863 is given to drivers who fail to stop at an entrance to a highway from a side road
- § 46.2-865 applies to any driver involved in racing two or more cars, on highways, roads, parking lots open to the public
Do You Have to Go to Court for a Reckless Driving Ticket?
When you receive a ticket for reckless driving, it is a demand that you appear personally in court. On the ticket, under Law Section, the specific Reckless Driving Code violation will be filled in by the officer, as well as, any officer notes, often which give a description of the violation, and how it was measured. The summons will give you a court date, in the city, or county General District Court you must appear in. Failing to appear in court could cause a warrant to be ordered for your arrest.
You may be asking, “…but what if I got a reckless driving but I’m from out-of-state?!” Yep, even for an out-of-state reckless driving ticket you still have to come back to Virginia for your court case … unless you hire a Virginia attorney to represent your interests, that is.
What are the Most Common Reckless Driving Tickets?
The most common reckless driving ticket given out by officers is violation of Virginia Code § 46.2-862, relating to drivers who speed. Virginia deems it a crime to drive over 80 miles per hour (mph), or 20 mph over the speed limit. A simple speeding ticket may be taken care of by paying a fine after you return home. Because reckless driving tickets are criminal, they are much more problematic. You can receive a Reckless Diving Speeding ticket even when you are not otherwise driving recklessly, such as weaving, or changing lanes. If the speeding criteria are met, the charge is reckless driving.
The second most commonly given reckless driving ticket is Virginia Code § 46.2-852 involving any behavior of a driver that puts life, limb, or property in danger. General reckless driving citations may be given to distracted drivers, those that tailgate, speeding violators, or those drivers expressing road rage. In Virginia, these actions are considered criminal. Obviously, the general reckless driving ticket will apply to a variety of situations, and is a catch-all term. Officers regularly assign this code in the following cases:
Reckless driving convictions, involving accidents, are usually based on witness statements, personal report, and the officer’s investigation. An accident alone, does not establish guilt of reckless driving.
Officers who observe drivers engaging in any combination of dangerous driving behaviors can cite the driver for reckless driving. A reckless driving citation is much more likely if dangerous driving behavior occurs during rush hour, or bad weather conditions.
Reckless driving tickets may be given if an officer uses their observation skills to estimate speed, over 80 mph or 20 mph over the speed limit. If the officer is unable to refer back to an exact speed reading device, the general reckless driving citation is given versus the speeding reckless driving ticket.
Why So Harsh?
There are political and financial reasons behind Virginia’s severe laws regarding reckless driving behavior. Strict traffic laws should keep people safer. Financially, the fines for reckless driving can go up to $2,500, and while a lower amount is often imposed, reckless driving fines almost always exceed the cost of a $250 speeding ticket. Court costs are also significantly higher for misdemeanor offenses than those incurred for a traffic ticket, which gives added financial incentive for the state.
Because of the criminal nature of the charge, always contest a Virginia reckless driving charge. Don’t risk having a criminal conviction on your record for life. Contact Swango Law P.C.’s experienced Virginia Beach reckless driving lawyers today at 757-383-9229. We serve all of Hampton Roads from Norfolk and Chesapeake to Hampton and Newport News!