Most traffic offenses are civil infractions. That means that while you did break the law, the only real repercussion is a citation or traffic ticket. Once you pay the ticket, other than points on your license and potentially increased insurance costs, you won’t necessarily have any ongoing consequences from that one driving mistake.
However, there are certain behaviors that can lead not to a mere ticket but an actual criminal charge. Reckless driving is a perfect example. Someone might think that they are about to get ticketed when an officer pulls them over, only for the officer to advise them that their driving was reckless. In some cases, the individual may wind up arrested. Knowing what constitutes reckless driving in Virginia can help you avoid accidentally getting charged.
Reckless driving often involves seriously unsafe habits
As you can likely already imagine, reckless driving charges often stem from dangerous practices, such as
- racing on public roads
- going the wrong way down a one-way street
- passing emergency vehicles, like cop cars, fire trucks and ambulances
- passing school buses
Failing to yield right of way before merging onto a highway is also reckless driving. In fact, any action that police deem dangerous to the public, such as doing donuts in a parking lot, could turn into a reckless driving citation.
Reckless driving can also relate to excessive speeding
Sometimes, what a driver thinks of as a minor speeding infraction constitutes reckless driving under state law. Going 20 miles an hour or more over the posted speed limit somewhere is enough to constitute reckless driving. Additionally, going over 80 miles per hour in general, regardless of the posted speed limit, also constitutes reckless driving under Virginia law.
Those facing reckless driving allegations have to worry about a fine of at least $250, up to a year in jail and as many as six points added to their license, which could result in license suspension or substantially higher insurance costs.
Defending yourself against reckless driving allegations can help you keep your license and avoid ongoing expenses. From challenging the speed recorded by a law enforcement officer to demonstrating that you weren’t part of a race, just adjacent to one, there are many potential defenses for those accused of reckless driving.