Virginia Reckless Driving By Speed Charges
Reckless driving by speed is found in Virginia Code Section 46.2–862. It is a commonly charged offense that is more significant and more serious than a simple speeding infraction. Reckless driving by speed is a class 1 misdemeanor and may be charged when a driver exceeds the posted speed limit by more than 20 mph or drives in excess of 80 mph, regardless of the posted speed limit. In certain circumstances, reckless driving by speed may also be charged when a driver drives at a speed that is unsafe for the current road conditions, regardless of how fast they are actually going.
Reckless driving by speed is commonly seen on all types of roadways throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia—interstate highways, state routes, and local roads all see drivers behaving recklessly by virtue of their speed.
When you are charged with reckless driving by speed, it does not mean that your driving behavior was necessarily reckless and reckless behavior is not an element of the offense. The only elements that the Commonwealth needs to prove beyond a reasonable doubt for conviction of reckless driving by speed is the speed of the vehicle was in excess of 20 mph over the posted limit or over 80 mph.
How an Attorney Can Help
There are many important steps that an experienced reckless driving attorney will take to help prepare you before your court date for a Virginia reckless driving offense. This includes obtaining and reviewing a copy of your Virginia DMV records, having detailed conversations about the facts and circumstances of your stop, and talking about what evidence may be there to mitigate your stop and mitigate your background—including taking a driver improvement course, having certified speedometer calibration for your vehicle, or performing community service.
In addition, a reckless driving attorney will talk to the law enforcement officer specifically about how and when the stop was made, the methods of speed determination used, and what mitigating factors might be present. Then an experienced reckless driving attorney will talk with the Commonwealth Attorney about what defenses may be present, what may be done to either attack the case as a whole, or to make an agreement that is in the client’s best interests.
Emergency Situations and Speeding
Apart from emergency circumstances, there is no excuse for travelling above 20 mph in excess of the posted speed limit or above 80 mph. If it is truly an emergency scenario, you should let the officer know at the time of the stop what the emergency is and you should be prepared to give documentation of the emergency to the court. In absence of emergency circumstances, there are penalties for travelling at that speed.
Reckless Driving by Speed is Still Reckless Driving
Reckless driving by speed is the same class 1 misdemeanor as all other types of reckless driving, and it is not a less severe offense than other reckless driving offenses.
Reckless driving by speed is dealt with the same as any other reckless driving matter in court. The officer will be asked to testify, and depending on the speed determination methods, the Commonwealth may be required to lay proper foundation for certain evidence. It would be very unlikely that the Commonwealth would present additional testimonial evidence besides the officer in a reckless driving by speed case.