Reckless Driving FAQs

What is reckless driving?

In Virginia, Reckless Driving is when someone operates a vehicle in a manner that endangers life, limb or property. The most common way this is charged is due to a high speed. Anything over 80 MPH or 20 miles over the posted speed limit is considered Reckless Driving. It is charged as a class one misdemeanor, which means it is the same level as simple assault or a DUI.

What is general reckless driving?

General Reckless Driving is charged most often when there has been an accident. It is common for police departments to have a policy that requires an officer who responds to the scene of an accident to charge someone for it. This is a unique charge because the police officer usually did not witness the incident that they are alleging was reckless driving. If the driver does not incriminate themselves at the scene, this type of reckless driving provides a lot of room for argument in court.

Do I have to show up to court for a reckless driving ticket?

Reckless driving is a criminal charge, which requires defendants to appear in person. There are a few circumstances where an attorney can appear on behalf of the defendant, but it is very case-specific. If you do not show up to court, then you will be found guilty in absentia and often the court will also charge you with a Failure to Appear. If you cannot appear in court on the day of your hearing, you must make arrangements to have your case continued by an attorney avoid additional charges being filed against you.

What are some defenses to a charge for reckless driving?

The defenses available to you will depend on the details of your particular case. There are several procedural standards required of the police officer that issued the charge. For example, they must properly calibrate their equipment within a particular timeframe and they must bring paperwork to court to show that this was properly done. An experienced Virginia reckless driving attorney will know what to look for in the paperwork and in the procedures followed by the officer. There are also some mitigating circumstances that can sometimes make a difference, such as whether your speedometer was accurate, whether there was a reason or cause of the manner of your driving, or your prior driving record.

Do I need a lawyer to handle my reckless driving charge?

An experienced reckless driving lawyer will be more likely to get good results on your case than someone who only did some Google research. It is crucial to minimize the damage that can come from a reckless driving charge. Unlike traffic infraction like speeding tickets, a conviction for reckless driving stays on your criminal record forever. It is a criminal misdemeanor, which can sometimes have an effect on someone’s security clearance or create issues with future employment possibilities. It is very important to give yourself the best possible change to avoid a criminal conviction, which requires an understanding of the law, local court procedures, and the experience in building a strong case.