Exceeding the Speed Limit Can Result in a Reckless Driving Charge

A need for speed can land you in hot water if you're traveling too fast on Virginia roads. Reckless driving by speed is considered a criminal charge, carrying serious penalties. Excessive speed and reckless driving

§ 46.2-862. Exceeding Speed Limit

Virginia code § 46.2-862 states, "A person shall be guilty of reckless driving who drives a motor vehicle on the highways in the Commonwealth (i) at a speed of twenty miles per hour or more in excess of the applicable maximum speed limit or (ii) in excess of eighty miles per hour regardless of the applicable maximum speed limit."

What This Means

Virginia code § 46.2-862 allows you to be charged with reckless driving simply for driving too fast. Even if you don't cause an accident or put anyone at risk, all the officer needs to do to charge you with reckless driving is to show that you were 20 miles or more over the speed limit or driving over 80 miles per hour regardless of the speed limit.

Reckless driving is a Class 1 misdemeanor criminal offense. If convicted, you'll face:

  • A fine of up to $2,500
  • Potential jail time of up to 1 year
  • Driver's license suspension of 10 days to six months
  • Six demerit points on your driving record

A conviction also gives you a criminal record, which can make it more difficult to pass a pre-employment background check, join the military, apply to grad school, or rent an apartment.

Defending Against the Charge

The best way to defend against a reckless driving by speed charge is to prove that you were not traveling at the speed the officer says. This can be done by presenting evidence such as a speedometer calibration or proof of radar calibration issues. With an experienced attorney on your side, you may be able to have the charge dropped or reduced to a lesser offense such as improper driving. To learn more, contact Virginia reckless driving attorney Charles V. Hardenbergh to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.