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Reckless Driving vs. Traffic Tickets

Reckless driving in Virginia is more serious than a lot of people would think. It is a misdemeanor, a criminal offense, which means that it carries the possibility of up to a year in jail, a $2,500 fine, as well as a six month license suspension.

While maximum penalties are not common except in very exceptional cases, on any reckless driving case there is a possibility of some jail, some loss of license, and some fine. Plus, beyond those penalties, there are long term consequences, most often with regard to insurance. Due to these serious factors, it is important that you contact a Virginia reckless driving attorney as soon as you have a chance. The following is more information on reckless driving and how it differs from a simple speeding infraction.

What Can Happen to Your Insurance After a Reckless Driving Charge?

In many cases, after the insurance carrier picks up the conviction from the Department of Motor Vehicles the insurance provider will in some cases cancel their policy. If they don’t, their premium will go up significantly and can lead to costs of thousands of dollars over a period of years until that charge drops off the record. Reckless driving stays on your record in Virginia for 11 years.

What Are The Different Ways The Individual Can Be Charged With This Offense And What Are Some Examples?

An individual can be charged in many different ways. To name a few; they could be charged with general reckless driving, reckless driving by speed, reckless racing, reckless passing on a curve or hill, reckless failure to maintain brakes, or reckless passing of a stopped school bus.

What Are The Differences Between Reckless Driving And A Traffic Ticket?

There are important differences between reckless driving, which is a crime and a misdemeanor, and a simple traffic ticket which is often referred to as an infraction. Traffic infractions carry smaller numbers of points which go against an individual’s license and traffic infractions are punishable only by fines which can be prepaid.

Reckless driving charges cannot be prepaid and must be dealt with in person, in court, by the individual who’s charged. Serious consequences of reckless driving, which are not available for simple traffic infractions, include jail, large fines, the suspension of driving privileges, as well a serious long term insurance consequences.

Is There A Difference In How These Two Things Affect Your Criminal Record?

Yes. Traffic infractions do not appear on your criminal record. Reckless driving, just like other misdemeanor traffic offenses like DUI or Hit and Run, does go on your criminal record. Even if you’re not convicted, the fact that you were charged remains on your record forever unless you go through the expungement process.

Anytime a person is charged with a crime in the Commonwealth of Virginia, the charge, and ultimately the conviction if there is one, is reported to the Central Criminal Record Exchange which is maintained by the FBI.

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