Although most reckless driving tickets are issued for conduct occurring on public roads, Virginia law allows you to be charged with reckless driving if you operate your vehicle in an unsafe manner in a parking lot.
§ 46.2-864. Reckless Driving on Parking Lots
Virginia code § 46.2-864 states, "A person is guilty of reckless driving who operates any motor vehicle at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person:
- On any driveway or premises of a church, school, recreational facility, or business or governmental property open to the public; or
- On the premises of any industrial establishment providing parking space for customers, patrons, or employees; or
- On any highway under construction or not yet open to the public."
Virginia Reckless Driving Penalties
Even if you don't cause an accident, a reckless driving charge must be taken seriously. This is a Class 1 misdemeanor criminal offense, not a simple traffic ticket. If convicted, you'll face:
- A fine of up to $2,500
- Jail time of up to 1 year
- Driver's license suspension of 10 days to six months
- Six demerit points on your driving record
Building an Aggressive Defense
A reckless driving conviction will leave you with a criminal record that can make it harder to pass a pre-employment background check, rent an apartment, apply to grad school, or enlist in the military. It would be a significant mistake to plead guilty and accept the consequences.
Virginia attorney Charles V. Hardenbergh is dedicated to helping drivers build an aggressive defense against reckless driving charges. Possible strategies may include presenting evidence that your behavior doesn't rise to the standard of endangering safety or property or arguing that the area where you were ticketed doesn't meet the legal definition of a parking lot. You might also be able to show a past safe driving record, attend a driver improvement clinic, or complete community service hours to reduce or drop the charge. Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your options.