Bad driving decisions can increase your risk of a crash. The risk isn’t always limited to you and the people in your vehicle. Sometimes, the decisions people make at the wheel go beyond personal risk and into the territory of putting others at risk.
It is possible for someone driving recklessly without consideration for the impact on others to willfully endanger other individuals, or either private or government property. The state of Virginia considers reckless driving to be a serious offense, one that typically results in misdemeanor charges. However, if a fatality results from an alleged reckless driving incident, the charges may increase to felony charges.
Reckless driving can involve many different, dangerous habits on the road
Reckless driving involves anything that obviously creates unnecessary risk for you and others on the road. Racing, passing another vehicle illegally, intentionally spinning or squealing your wheels or even knowingly driving in a vehicle with bad brakes could all constitute reckless driving.
Depending on the circumstances, someone who might anticipate receiving a simple speeding ticket could find themselves facing criminal charges related to reckless driving. Whether you live in Virginia or got a ticket while driving through the state, you could face criminal charges instead of a traffic ticket.
Anyone accused of driving 20 miles an hour or more over the posted speed limit in an area could face reckless driving charges. The same is true of anyone driving at speeds of more than 80 miles per hour, regardless of the posted speed limit.
Reckless driving can mean fines, points on your license and other consequences
Virginia applies relatively steep penalties to reckless driving charges. Different circumstances carry different consequences. For misdemeanor reckless driving charges, the potential penalties include six points on your license, as much as $2,500 in fines, loss of your license for up to six months and even a year in jail.
Reckless driving charges that stem from a race could mean the loss of your license for two years. Felony reckless driving charges can carry as much as 20 years in jail. The judge hearing your case will have significant discretion regarding how they sentence you. A strong and thorough defense is important if you want to minimize the penalties you face.
There are many ways to push back against reckless driving charges
No one wants to wind up saddled with a criminal record over a mere driving infraction. Particularly if no one got hurt and no property damage occurred because of the alleged driving offense, it may be possible for someone facing reckless driving charges to plead to a lesser traffic infraction or completely defend against the claims of reckless driving.
Unlike a ticket that you can simply pay and mostly ignore, a reckless driving charge can cause a lot of issues that persist for well after the day you’ve paid your fines.