In Virginia, reckless driving is considered a more serious offense than a traffic ticket. It is usually charged as a misdemeanor offense with a possible jail sentence, fines, driver’s license suspension, and permanent criminal record. However, if a person is killed in your reckless driving accident, you could face even more serious charges.
Felony Reckless Driving Charges You May Face
While reckless driving is usually charged as a misdemeanor, you could face felony reckless driving charges if there was a fatality. You could be charged with this offense in these situations:
- Suspended or revoked license. You could be charged with a felony if you were driving on a suspended or revoked driver’s license, and your reckless driving was the sole cause of the victim’s death.
- Racing. If you were charged with reckless driving for racing and you seriously injured someone not involved in the race or someone was killed because of the race, you may be charged with reckless driving as a felony.
When someone is killed in a reckless driving accident or injured due to racing, this is a Class 6 felony with possible penalties of a jail sentence of up to 12 months, a prison sentence of up to five years, and a fine not to exceed $2,500. If the victim died due to a drag race, this is a separate felony offense that could result in a prison sentence of one to twenty years, with a mandatory one-year sentence.
Virginia’s Vehicular Manslaughter Charges
You could also face other charges if your reckless driving resulted in the death of another person. If you were driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol and this was the cause of the death, you could be charged with vehicular manslaughter, which is also referred to as involuntary manslaughter. This is a Class 5 felony, and there are two levels of punishment:
- Vehicular manslaughter. If you are charged with vehicular manslaughter, you could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison and up to $2,500 in fines.
- Aggravated vehicular manslaughter. If your actions were “so gross, wanton, and culpable as to show a reckless disregard for human life,” the charges could be elevated to aggravated vehicular manslaughter. This offense carries penalties of up to 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $2,500.
Are you facing reckless driving or other more serious charges in Virginia? Even if you believe you are guilty, you may have strong defenses to the charges that can result in their dismissal or reduction to a less serious offense. However, you need the assistance of an experienced reckless driving attorney to achieve a favorable outcome. To learn about our extensive experience helping clients fight reckless driving charges and how we can assist you, call our Petersburg office today to schedule your free initial consultation.