VA Reckless Driving Law
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Questions and Answers
Over the weekend I was driving on I-295 in VA (I am from NJ) and was pulled over. I was told I was going 91mph in a 70mph. I was in the left lane and not trying to blow by people or anything (i was not even gaining on the cars in front of me). I got summoned for court in the township of Hopewell on reckless driving charges.
I did the research and I know what the current laws are…but it seems like there is a lot of inconsistency with these cases. I am 20 and have a clean record, this was my first time being pulled over. I was polite and cooperative with the officer, from what I have read these things will work in my favor toward reducing the charge to an improper driving one if I hire an attorney, which I plan on. What scares me is I got clocked over the 90mph mark, even though it was only 21mph over the limit. I have read that some courts look solely at the 90 and will convict you and give you a jail sentence. I am a junior in college going for a teaching cert…a criminal record would obviously mean kissing that dream good bye.
I am just curious if anyone has had a similar experience and can offer advice on what to expect. Is my clean record and a lawyer enough to eliminate the criminal charge? Or does the 90mph pretty much say I am screwed? If anyone has dealt with the Hopewell court, any information on them would be much appreciated. Thanks!
The maximum statutory penalty is twelve months in jail, six months suspension of your Virginia driver’s license or six months suspension of your privilege to operate a motor vehicle in Virginia if you are licensed elsewhere, plus a fine of up to $2,500. If your privilege to operate a motor vehicle in Virginia is suspended for any period of time, Virginia DMV will report the suspension to the state that issued your driver’s license. Most states honor suspensions from other states and will suspend licenses of their own citizens upon notification of an out of state suspension.
The actual penalty which you can realistically expect varies considerably by jurisdiction. In some counties the traffic court judges will begin to incarcerate at 90 mph; at speeds in excess of 100 mph incarceration is a virtual certainly in most jurisdictions.
Some jurisdictions will suspend driver’s licenses (or the privilege to drive in Virginia for those licensed elsewhere) at speeds of 85 mph. At 90 mph or greater such a suspension is quite likely.
Reckless driving in Virginia is a class one misdemeanor. You are legally required to appear in court. Having said that, as a practical matter, out of state drivers routinely hire local attorneys to appear for them and rarely get in trouble for not showing up in person.
I was coming back from Florida to Virginia (very long drive), and I got a reckless driving ticket in prince george county Virginia. Ticket says I was going at 82 at posted speed limit of 70. If anyone has travelled on interstate-95 before, people normally go at 90mph.
Now instead of giving me a ticket, officer gave me a notice to appear in the court on a certain date. My driving record is completely clean. What can possibly happen over there. People around me a scaring me.
In Virginia, anything over 80 mph is reckless driving. It's a ridiculous law, but it's on the books.
I seriously recommend hiring a lawyer over this. They can put you in jail for reckless. They won't do that, but they will give you a lengthy license suspension. The fines and fees if you plead guilty will be more than you would probably spend on a good traffic attorney.