You can be charged with reckless driving in Virginia even if the police did not see you driving. When the police are called to the scene of a car accident, they will often try to determine the cause of the crash, and in many cases, will charge the alleged at-fault driver with reckless driving. This is not the same as getting a traffic ticket. Reckless driving is a Class 1 misdemeanor offense in Virginia, and a conviction can result in a permanent criminal record.
Common Reckless Driving Offenses
There are at least 15 separate offenses that can lead to a reckless driving criminal charge. Two are general reckless driving laws that police use to charge individual with reckless driving following an accident. If you are charged with reckless driving in this situation, it could be based on one of these laws:
- Endangerment. It is reckless driving to drive in a way that endangers a person or property. If there were serious injuries to victims of the accident or significant property damage, the police may conclude that you must have been driving recklessly.
- Lack of control. It is also reckless driving to drive with faulty brakes or when a person cannot maintain control of his vehicle. If your brakes failed or your vehicle skidded on wet pavement causing an accident, you may be charged with reckless driving.
Penalties for Reckless Driving
If you are convicted of reckless driving based on either of these grounds, you face the same penalties as if you were charged under other reckless driving laws. You could face up to jail for up to one year, a fine not to exceed $2,500, a driver’s license suspension for up to six months, and six demerit points on your driving record.
Just because you were charged with reckless driving following an accident does not mean that you were in fact driving recklessly. You may have strong defenses to the charges you face—especially given that the officer did not witness the accident. However, you will need the assistance of an experienced reckless driving attorney to prove your case.
Attorney Charles Hardenbergh is dedicated to fighting for the rights of individuals charged with reckless driving. To learn about his experience and how he will aggressively fight the charges you may face, call our Petersburg office today to schedule your free consultation.