Getting the odd traffic citation here and there is something with which many motorists in Virginia have experience. While tickets for minor moving violations are certainly inconvenient and often expensive, they typically do not have far-reaching impact on the lives of those who receive them.
The same cannot be said of individuals who are charged with reckless driving in the Commonwealth.
The fact is that reckless driving constitutes a criminal misdemeanor offense which can result in substantial monetary fines, suspended driving privileges and even incarceration.
Convictions produce a permanent criminal record which can never be expunged. Clearly, the impact of a reckless driving conviction can be lengthy as well as severe in nature.
For all of the above reasons, it is incumbent upon anyone facing such a charge to seek the counsel of a Vienna reckless driving lawyer who possesses the knowledge necessary to mount a vigorous legal defense.
According to Virginia Code Section 46.2-852, reckless driving consists of driving a vehicle in a manner or at a speed which serves to endanger another individual’s life, limb or property. An individual can be guilty of this offense no matter the maximum speed permitted in the area in question.
To the surprise of many unsuspecting Virginia motorists, the penalties for a reckless driving conviction can actually be quite substantial. This is one reason it is often important to work with a reckless driving lawyer in Vienna in these cases.
Pursuant to Virginia Code Section 46.2-868, reckless driving is a Class 1 misdemeanor, which carries potential penalties of up to a year in jail as well as fines up to $2,500. Those guilty of reckless driving on a suspended or revoked license who also cause death as a result have committed a Class 6 felony.
In addition to the above criminal sanctions, those convicted of reckless driving in Virginia also face the imposition of six points on their operator’s license, possible suspension activity as well as substantial increase in auto insurance premiums.
A subsequent conviction on a reckless driving charge will likely compound these additional penalties, resulting in serious financial burdens.
The societal and employment implications of a criminal record stemming from a reckless driving conviction must also not be overlooked. The existence of a criminal history can harm future employment prospects, cause the loss of a current job (particularly if it involves driving), result in professional licensing denials, and more.
On top of all of this, a criminal record carries with it a social stigma and sense of embarrassment that no one wishes to endure.
Though police officers generally have discretion to charge a motorist with reckless driving whenever they feel the safety of others is being placed at risk, some of the more typical situations in which this offense is charged include:
A Virginia criminal defense lawyer will work hard to mitigate the harm a reckless driving charge has on your life, now and into the future. Dismissal of such a charge or a not guilty finding are the ideal outcomes, but when that is not possible, reduction of the charge to something less serious is often a feasible option.
The first step in maximizing your chances of limiting the damage a charge of reckless driving does to your reputation, prospects, and pocketbook, is contacting a reckless driving attorney in Vienna who understands the law and how to successfully navigate Virginia courts.
Once a motorist begins to understand the seriousness with which the Commonwealth of Virginia takes the crime of reckless driving, pending charges, and the consequences they threaten to bring, become all the more frightening.
If you are facing the possibility of a conviction on a reckless driving allegation, contact an attorney with our firm to learn how we will fight to achieve the most positive result possible in your case.
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