Unique Aspects of Virginia Reckless Driving Cases
Unlike many other states, speeding tickets for a high rate of speed in Virginia may have different consequences. Some states do not have criminal offenses for speeding, regardless of how much more the speed is above the posted limits. In Virginia, if you are driving over 80 mph or in excess of 20 mph over the posted speed limit, you can expect to be charged with reckless driving, which is a class 1 misdemeanor. A Virginia reckless driving lawyer can help defend you in a court of law. Call today and start building your defense.
Reckless Driving in Virginia vs. Other States
Other states don’t criminalize the speed of the driver, regardless of the speed. Some states actually have a lower threshold than 20 mph—such as in North Carolina, which makes reckless driving 15 mph over the speed limit. If you are an out-of-state driver, you may be unfamiliar with the fact that getting a reckless driving ticket in Virginia requires court appearance and that you cannot prepay the ticket. Therefore, it is quite common for out-of-state drivers to be shocked when they are in Virginia, and they have serious penalties for high-speed cases.
If an out-of-state driver receives a speeding ticket in Virginia, it is important to verify that you have received a speeding ticket rather than a reckless driving charge and summons. If you have indeed been given a summons, contact an experienced Virginia reckless driving attorney right away.
How to Determine If Your Ticket is a Reckless Driving Summons
If you are looking at the Virginia Uniform Summons, you want to see the left side. On the left side below the section that gives you the locality of the offense and the address of the local courthouse, there will be a section that says, “Charge” and a section that says “Law Section.”
Under the section that says “Charge,” if you are charged with reckless driving after being stopped for speeding, this section will say “Reckless Driving by Speed,” “Reckless Driving,” or “R/D Speed,” and then it will include a written speed. That speed will typically be above 80 mph or more than 20 mph over the posted limit, for example 76 mph in a 55-mph zone.
Under the “Law Section,” if you are charged with reckless driving by speed, it will be Virginia Code Section 46.2–862. If you are charged with a speeding infraction, you will see a different code section that will start with 46.2–87, and it may include Virginia Code Section 46.2–870, 46.2–874, 875, 876, or 878.
Reckless Driving Charges for Out-of-State Drivers
If you have a reckless driving charge, first of all, it is not a speeding ticket anymore. This means that you cannot prepay the ticket, you have to come to court, and you can be charged under class 1 misdemeanor. Virginia takes reckless driving charges very seriously and driving over 80 mph or 20 mph over the posted speed limit will result in a criminal misdemeanor charge.