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Unique Aspects of Fauquier Reckless Driving Charges

If an individual is charged with reckless driving in the Commonwealth of Virginia, he or she is charged with a class 1 misdemeanor. This means that the person could face up to 12 months in jail, a $2,500 fine, or a combination thereof. In addition, their privilege to drive in Fauquier County, and Virginia as a whole, could be suspended for up to 6 months. An individual charged with reckless driving, they will typically have a court date and will not be able to pre-pay this offense.

For this reason, it is very important that a person facing reckless driving in Fauquier County understands the elements of the charges and how they differ from other types of charges. A Fauquier County reckless driving attorney can help a person charged with reckless driving in Fauquier County better understand the charges against them and what steps they should take.

Elements of Reckless Driving Charges

There are at least thirteen different ways in which an individual may be charged with a reckless driving offense in Fauquier County. The most common is Virginia Code Section 46.2-862, which is reckless driving by speed. Reckless driving by speed entails traveling in excess of 20 miles an hour above the posted speed limit or driving above 80 miles an hour regardless of the posted speed limit. In Fauquier County, that second part is extra crucial.

The reason for this is that part of Interstate 66, which travels through Fauquier County on its way from Prince William County to Warren County, includes a 70 mile-an-hour zone. Under Virginia Code section 46.2-862, a person may be charged with reckless driving by speed if they are driving 81, 82, or 83 miles an hour in that 70 zone, even though it is obviously less than 20 miles an hour above the posted speed limit.

The next most common way people are charged with reckless driving is under the general rule in Virginia Code Section 46.2-852. The general rule states that it is reckless driving if a person drives a vehicle in any manner as to endanger the life or property of yourself or another. In practical terms, this means accident cases or cases in which someone nearly causes an accident.

Whether or not the person is placed under arrest or simply issued a summons depends on the unique facts and circumstances of the case. It is far more common in reckless driving cases that someone is simply issued a Virginia Uniform Summons and told to appear in court. However, in some jurisdictions and under some factual circumstances, they may be required to be placed under arrest, taken to a police station, and processed.

Differences from a Traffic Ticket

A reckless driving ticket is a class 1 misdemeanor. A traffic infraction is pre-payable, and it has a maximum penalty of a $250 fine.

While under certain circumstances reckless driving fines may be in the same realm as a traffic infraction, they are much more serious offenses as they are criminal charges. Reckless driving charges will remain on a person’s driving record for a longer period of time, which is usually up to 11 years. They also carry more points, typically negative 6 demerit points.  Additionally, reckless driving charges will create a criminal record which lasts forever.

What to Be Prepared For

If a person is charged with reckless driving in Virginia, especially in Fauquier County, they should be prepared for the charges to be taken very seriously. First, they should contact an experienced attorney right away. Even if an attorney is not necessary for the facts and circumstances of the case, it is important to get that initial consultation to find out what an attorney can do for them and whether or not an attorney is necessary.

Next, the person should expect that they have to appear in the General District Court of Fauquier County. If they are found guilty, they will have to pay a fine and costs, in addition to other potential penalties.

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