Expert Advice on Reckless Driving Charges
Possible Consequences for Reckless Driving in Virginia
Reckless driving in the Commonwealth of Virginia carries a number of possible punishments and long-term consequences. Drivers who are convicted could receive any combination of the following:
- Fine up to $2,500
- License suspension up to six months
- Jail up to 12 months
Specific punishments may vary based on the facts of your case, driving record, and the local judge who hears your case.
Jail Sentence for Reckless Driving
Various jurisdictions across the Commonwealth do employ a threshold in determining whether a driver recklessly exceeds speed and vehicle safety in such a way that it warrants jail time. In most cases, 90 MPH is seen as a marker, but every case differs. Jail is not often used as the primary deterrent in reckless driving cases, but it can be a significant one. This is why it is important to consult with an attorney about the realities of a jail sentence as it relates to reckless driving in Virginia.
Reckless Driving Fines and Penalties
Specific fines for reckless driving, as with speeding ticket charges, can depend on a variety of factors, including the local court. Judges often choose to impose fines of $5 or $10 for each mile-per-hour over the speed limit. Virginia law give you at least 30 days to pay anything you owe the court. If you need additional time, you could ask the court for a longer payment deadline.
Long-Term Consequences for Reckless Driving
There are a few ways that a reckless driving conviction may have long-term consequences on your driving record, insurance costs, and more:
Insurance premiums may rise an average of 21.8 percent, compared to an increase of 10.62% for a regular speeding ticket going 1 to 14 MPH over the limit. If your insurance company considers the conviction for multiple years, the expense can be worse.
Living or working near Washington, DC, conviction for reckless driving misdemeanor could threaten a security clearance. Generally, one conviction does not deny a clearance; however, multiple convictions could be seen as a judgment problem. Your supervisor or security clearance review officer will now the best answer for your situation and clearance level.
If you drive for a living or are on company insurance, some companies have rules that require terminating employees based on their driving records alone. You may want to review your pending case with your supervisor or human resources department to find out how a reckless driving conviction might affect your job, and whether a reduced outcome (such as a speeding conviction) could eliminate employment risks.
Reckless driving will impact your permanent criminal record. These offenses are crimes and can be punished by jail for up to one year, depending on the level of offense. Class one misdemeanors, like reckless driving, are at the top of the scale. Most employment and life insurance applications may ask about criminal or reckless driving convictions. Unlike your driving record, the criminal record remains for life and cannot be expunged once the court convicts you.
The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles assesses reckless driving demerit points. Once a court convicts you the VA DMV will take six demerit points from your driving record. The conviction remains on your driving record for 11 years. If you accumulate too many demerit points too quickly, the DMV may send you to a driver improvement or suspend your license completely.