Virginia's reckless driving law gives officers significant discretion in making arrests, which can present challenges when it comes to building an effective defense against the charge.
§ 46.2-852. Reckless Driving; General Rule
Irrespective of the maximum speeds permitted by law, any person who drives a vehicle on any highway recklessly or at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person shall be guilty of reckless driving.
What This Means for You
What constitutes reckless behavior under this section of the Virginia Code isn't clearly spelled out. Officers are allowed to take into account factors such as road conditions, traffic patterns, visibility, and weather conditions when determining if your behavior is unsafe. You don't necessarily need to have caused an accident to receive a citation.
Some examples of behavior that might result in a reckless driving citation include:
- Driving too fast for weather conditions
- Spinning your tires
- Weaving in and out of traffic
- Failing to obey traffic lights or road signs
- Driving the wrong way down a one-way road
Penalties for Reckless Driving
Reckless driving is much more serious than a simple traffic ticket. A conviction leaves you with a criminal record that can affect your employment opportunities, educational plans, and military service.
Reckless driving is typically a Class 1 misdemeanor with confinement in jail for up to 12 months and/or a fine of no more than $2,500. You'll also be left with six points on your driving record and up to six months suspension of your driving privileges.
Protecting Your Legal Rights
Due to the stiff penalties associated with a reckless driving charge, it would be a mistake to simply plead guilty and accept the consequences. You need an attorney who can provide an aggressive defense, using strategies such as speedometer calibration, GPS evidence, justification of a medical emergency, or agreeing to complete a driver improvement clinic.
Virginia reckless driving attorney Charles V. Hardenbergh is committed to helping drivers ensure that one mistake doesn't cost them their future. Call today to schedule a free, no-obligation initial case review.