1. What should I do to prepare for my case?
a. Obtain a copy of your driving transcript from the Department of Motor Vehicles.
b. If your DMV record shows a negative point balance, then compete a DMV approved driving course.
c. Have your speedometer calibrated if speed is an element of your case.
d. Obtain the full names and addresses of any witnesses who are involved in your case.
e. Obtain copies of any medical records related to your case.
2. What is the maximum sentence if the court finds me guilty of reckless driving?
Reckless driving is a class one misdemeanor and carries a maximum sentence of twelve months in jail and/or a fine of $2,500.00. (Virginia Code, section 18.2-11). The judge may also suspend your driver’s license.
3. Do I face any active jail time for reckless driving?
In the Hampton Roads area, the primary reasons for active jail time in reckless driving cases are: speeding above 89 miles per hour, bad prior driving record, lack of cooperation with the police, and accident cases.
4. How long will a reckless driving conviction stay on my record?
As a misdemeanor, a reckless driving conviction will remain on your Virginia criminal record permanently. However, reckless driving will be removed from your DMV record after eleven years.
5. How many demerit points will the DMV assign me for a reckless driving charge?
DMV assigns six demerit points for any reckless driving charge.
6. Why was I charged with reckless driving when I was just speeding?
Virginia law classifies speeding as reckless driving when the speed is twenty miles per hour or more above the speed limit or when the speed is over eighty miles per hour regardless of the speed limit. (Virginia Code, section 46.2-862).
7. What is the general rule for reckless driving?
The Virginia Code provides that, “[i]rrespective of the maximum speeds permitted by law, any person who drives a vehicle on any highway recklessly or at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person shall be guilty of reckless driving.” (Virginia Code, section 46.2-852).
8. Can a reckless driving charge be reduced or amended to a less serious charge?
Lawyers typically try to have reckless driving charges reduced to improper driving. The judge has discretion to amend the charge to improper driving when the poor driving behavior is less severe. The advantages of improper driving include that it is a traffic infraction instead of a misdemeanor, it carries fewer DMV demerit points, and the maximum fine is $500.00.
For reckless driving due to speeding, it is sometimes possible to reduce the charge to the traffic offense of speeding. This usually requires a good driving record and a speed that is close to the threshold for reckless driving.