Having a driver’s license is crucial for our everyday lives. We rely on the ability to drive to perform various tasks efficiently. However, let’s not forget that driving is a privilege, not an inherent right.
A reckless driving charge can have severe consequences, as it is more than just a ticket—it is a criminal offense. As Virginia reckless driving defense attorneys, we are here to fight for you and protect you from the harsh implications of a reckless driving conviction.
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Understanding Reckless Driving in Virginia
Reckless driving in Virginia encompasses driving in a manner or at a speed that endangers the life, limbs, or property of others. While that’s the general rule, Virginia’s reckless driving laws define additional behaviors as reckless driving.
Some examples of reckless driving include:
- Driving a car while not in control or with faulty brakes
- Passing at the top of a hill or on a curve
- Driving with an obstructed view of the road
- Failing to signal
- Passing a stopped school bus
- Failing to yield
- Driving too fast for the road conditions
Even speeding can be considered reckless driving if you exceed 85 mph or travel at 20 miles per hour over the speed limit.
The Negative Consequences of Reckless Driving
The most serious consequence of a reckless driving charge is the potential loss of freedom. In Virginia, reckless driving is classified as a Class 1 misdemeanor. The maximum penalty includes confinement to the county jail for up to 12 months. Additionally, there can be fines of up to $2,500, with a minimum required fine of $250 if you used a cell phone while driving recklessly.
Demerit Points on Your License
Reckless driving carries other consequences as well. A conviction adds demerit points to your driving record. The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) maintains a record of traffic violations and assigns demerit points to each offense. These points can add up quickly and have long-term repercussions for you and your family.
It’s important to note that the DMV’s demerit point system is separate from your insurance company’s point system. Regardless, each traffic offense, especially a severe one like reckless driving, can negatively impact your driving history.
Reckless driving is a six-point offense according to the DMV. This is on par with other serious traffic crimes such as DUI and leaving the scene of a crash. The severity of the DMV’s treatment of reckless driving highlights the significance of this offense.
Virginia’s DMV keeps track of the demerit points assessed against you and has the authority to impose sanctions for poor driving. The DMV employs a graduated punishment system. If you accumulate 8 demerit points within 12 months or 12 points within 24 months (if you are 18 or older), you must attend a driver improvement course, with a 90-day deadline for successful completion. Punishments escalate as you accumulate more points. Acquiring 18 demerit points in 12 months or 24 points in 24 months results in a 90-day license suspension. Furthermore, you will need to complete the driver improvement clinic successfully, and the DMV will put you on driving probation for six months.
The Duration of Reckless Driving Offenses on Your Record
A reckless driving conviction remains on your driving record for 11 years. After that period, it is removed. In fact, the Virginia DMV allows you to earn good points for each year that you have without a moving violation. Decreasing the number of points on your driving record can have significant benefits. For instance, if you apply for a job that requires driving, your prospective employer will review your driving history. Earning safe points by reducing or eliminating demerit points from your driving history could greatly enhance your chances of securing the desired job.
It’s important to note that your criminal history is different. Criminal charges do not expire after a set period of time. A reckless driving conviction will remain on your criminal record indefinitely.
Having a criminal record carries profound implications, potentially affecting both your current and future employment prospects. When a potential employer checks your criminal record, they will see a reckless driving conviction. Additionally, if you are charged with a crime in the future, having a previous criminal record usually results in a more severe penalty. Judges are generally less lenient toward individuals with prior criminal convictions who are facing new charges.
Reckless Driving and Your Law School Application
Reckless driving in Virginia is classified as a Class 1 Misdemeanor. Therefore, if you receive a reckless driving ticket, you may need to report it on your law school application. If the application specifically asks about criminal convictions, you would need to disclose a conviction for reckless driving. However, if the application only inquires about criminal charges, you might not need to report the charge if it was amended to something like speeding or entirely dismissed. Even if the charge was dismissed, if the application asks about any criminal charges, you would still need to report that you were accused of the crime of reckless driving.
It’s crucial to address this situation proactively to minimize the potential damage and reporting requirements on your law school application. If you find yourself in this situation, don’t hesitate to contact me so we can discuss your options and how I can assist you.
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Get the Help You Need: Call Today
As you can see, there is more at stake than simply paying a traffic ticket. So, what can you do to keep this criminal charge off your record? If you’ve been charged with reckless driving, Virginia defense Attorney Andrew Flusche is here to help. Alongside my partner, Ryan Fitzgerald, I specialize in representing individuals facing driving offenses, misdemeanors, and more serious felonies. By focusing exclusively on these areas, we have honed our skills and expertise to better serve our clients and resolve their legal problems. We work tirelessly in court every day to help our clients navigate through difficulties while safeguarding their driving privileges.
If you would like to learn more, call Andrew Flusche, Attorney at Law, PLC, at 540-642-1667. My staff will be happy to schedule an appointment that suits your convenience and busy schedule.