If you are a resident from out-of-state traveling in Virginia, it’s important to understand the state’s reckless driving laws and possible charges. There are at least 15 separate offenses for reckless driving in the state of Virginia. While some of these involve speeding over 80 miles per hour or 20 miles over the posted speed limit, you could also face these charges for more minor offenses. Some of these include failing to yield the right of way or failing to use your turn signal. Even if you’re an out-of-state driver, you can be charged with reckless driving in Virginia.
What to Know: Reckless Driving If You’re an Out-of-State Resident
Because Virginia treats reckless driving as a significant offense, you need to take the charge seriously, even if you live in another state. Here are important things that you need to know about this charge if you’re an out-of-state resident:
- It’s a misdemeanor. A reckless driving charge is not a traffic ticket for speeding or another traffic violation. It is a misdemeanor offense, and you could have a permanent criminal record if convicted. This could affect your ability to obtain a job or a loan.
- It involves harsh penalties. You could face a sentence of up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine if convicted. In addition, your driver’s license could be suspended for up to six months, and you may have six points placed on your driving record—which could increase your auto insurance costs significantly.
- It involves a court appearance. Because reckless driving is not a traffic ticket, you cannot just pay a fine like with some traffic violations. In Virginia, you must attend a court hearing if you are charged with reckless driving—even when you live in another state. However, if you retain an experienced reckless driving attorney in Virginia, he may be able to attend the hearing on your behalf, so you don’t need to take time off work and pay travel expenses to come back to the state.
- It’s part of the interstate compact. Most states have entered into the Interstate Driver License Compact, agreeing to share information with other states about an individual’s driver’s license suspensions and traffic violations. These states also agree to treat the ticket conviction and penalties as if they occurred in their own state and apply the same penalties. If you are convicted of reckless driving, Virginia would send its information on your conviction to your state, where you may face the same penalties.
If you are an out-of-state resident who has been charged with reckless driving in Virginia, you need the assistance of an experienced reckless driving attorney who understands Virginia law. Van can build a strong defense and help get the charges dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense. Call our office to schedule your free initial consultation.