- Joseph Amonett
Reckless Driving by Speed
In Virginia, reckless driving is considered a class 1 misdemeanor. This a criminal offense that carries up to 12 months of jail, a $2,500 fine, and a possible driver's license suspension. There are many ways a person can get a reckless driving charge, but one of the most common is for speeding.
Virginia Code Section 46.2-862 currently provides that a person is guilty of reckless driving when he or she drives a motor vehicle on a Virginia highway either at a speed of 20 m.p.h. or more over the speed limit or simply at a speed in excess of 80 m.p.h. That’s right - driving merely in excess of 80 m.p.h. is a criminal offense that can have serious consequences! In fact, at least in many central Virginia jurisdictions, a person is more likely to serve active jail time for a reckless driving conviction than a first-offense DUI/DWI when speeding in excess of 90 m.p.h. or 30 m.p.h. or more over the speed limit. As you can see, this isn’t your average speeding ticket.
Fortunately, the Virginia General Assembly recently decided to increase the 80 m.p.h. threshold to 85 m.p.h. starting July 1, 2020. There is no change for the 20 m.p.h. rule. We hope that Virginia courts will consider the increased speeding threshold for sentencing purposes in the future, but it is difficult to predict how this change will affect sentencing if at all.
The easiest way to avoid a conviction for reckless driving is to SLOW DOWN, but not all hope is lost if you find yourself facing a charge. Make sure you contact an experienced criminal and traffic attorney in advance of your court date.