Are reckless driving penalties different for teen drivers?

It’s not uncommon for teen drivers to feel invincible behind the wheel of a car. But youth, new found independence, and inexperience can be a recipe for risky behavior and accidents. Virginia's reckless driving laws don't look kindly on teens who take chances behind the wheel. Teens and reckless driving penalties

Reckless Driving Penalties for Teen Drivers

Although the penalties for reckless driving are technically the same regardless of age, many judges are less inclined to offer leniency or reduced sentences for teen drivers. Their belief is that harsh punishment is necessary to deter future bad behavior.

Penalties for reckless driving include:

  • License suspension for six months
  • Fine of up to $2,500
  • Six demerit points on your driving record
  • Up to 12 months in jail

Underage drivers are automatically required to complete a driver improvement clinic whenever they receive demerit points on their driving record. Drivers age 17 and under are tried in the Virginia Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Courts, unless the offense resulted in death or serious bodily harm.

Other Consequences for Teen Drivers

In addition to the court system’s penalties, you’ll face a number of other consequences if you’re convicted of reckless driving.

  • As a teen driver, you're already paying higher insurance rates than older drivers. However, a reckless driving conviction adds points to your record that will make your rates spike even higher.
  • A reckless driving conviction leaves you with a criminal record that can affect your ability to seek employment in law enforcement, government, and any field that requires a background check.
  • If you're hoping to enlist in the military, a reckless driving conviction is considered a moral offense. Depending upon whether it's a misdemeanor or felony charge, you may be barred from enlisting.
  • Selective colleges may enquire about the charge if they conduct background checks or disqualify anyone who has been subject to juvenile delinquency proceedings.
  • When it's time to rent an apartment, your conviction will show up on your background check. A reckless driving charge won't necessarily prevent you from getting your own place, but it may make it more difficult.

Protecting Your Rights

If your teen has been charged with reckless driving, enlisting qualified legal representation is the best way to prevent having one mistake sabotage his entire future. Please contact Virginia defense attorney Charles V. Hardenbergh to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.