Petersburg Reckless Driving Lawyer
Though reckless driving is charged as a class 1 misdemeanor in Petersburg, the penalty can be the same as a DUI or assault if you are convicted (up to a year in jail and as much as a $2,500 fine). Reckless driving [Virginia Criminal Codes Section 46.2-852] violators can also have their driving privileges suspended for six months. So, it should be apparent that if you are charged with this serious moving violation, a call to an experienced Petersburg reckless driving lawyer may benefit you.
Penalties for Reckless Driving in Petersburg, VA
Reckless driving is not a single offense, but a group of 13 traffic charges that the government views as posing the greatest threat to people and property among moving violations. They can happen on any street in Petersburg, from I-95 to just around your corner on the way to the grocery store. They include excessive speed, several passing violations, racing, and inability to control your vehicle (known as the “faulty brake” statute) [Virginia Criminal Codes Section 46.2-853–865].
Sometimes the fine could be as much as $500 for a first conviction,with a weekend in jail. But with the danger of losing your license, and the fact that six points are added to your Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) record(which will stay for 11 years) even a first conviction can have far-reaching effects on your mobility. And sometimes, reckless driving isn’t the only traffic ticket people can get in one stop.
Reckless Driving Penalty Enhancements
Reckless driving without a valid driver’s license (includes suspended or revoked license) and causing the death of another becomes a class 6 felony [Section 46.2-868(B)]. It can bring a penalty of up to five years in prison or a discretionary reduction of 12 months in jail, along with a $2,500 fine [Section 18.2-10(f)].
As an enhanced penalty, if it is proven that you were operating a handheld device when you were driving recklessly [Section 46.2-1078.1], a $250 fine is added to your reckless driving conviction [Section 46.2-868(C)]. But with the virtual explosion of texting while driving resulting in tickets and serious accidents, it is possiblethe Legislature willadd this offense to the current list of reckless driving charges.
- And what if you’re ticketed for reckless driving because you were driving while intoxicated? [Section 18.2-266] That’s two class 1 misdemeanors and potentially twice the fine (up to $5,000), double the maximum jail time (up to a year, driver’s license suspension (for at least a year), and DMV points (12 total, which means your license could be revoked instead of suspended).
Conviction for reckless driving certainly drives up your insurance rates, probably significantly. Once you’re convicted, you might lose your insurance coverage altogether if you have other moving violations on your record. This means it might be necessary to purchase very expensive shared-risk (SR-22) coverage before your driver’s license is returned to you after suspension.
Demerit Point System in Petersburg, VA
The VDMV’s Uniform Demerit Point System keeps track of the violation records of all who have a driver’s license in the Commonwealth. It establishes a numeric value (three, four, or six demerit points) to each moving violation conviction. The more serious the offense, the more points assessed, and the longer they remain on your driving record. When you accumulate a predetermined point total (generally 12 points within a year’s time, or 18 in two years), the DMV may suspend your driver’s license. So, once convicted, you’re halfway to the total that leads to suspension.
This is one of several reasons why it’s best to retain an experienced Petersburg reckless driving lawyer to contest such tickets and help you keep those DMV points to a minimum.
Petersburg Reckless Driving Lawyer Can Represent You In Court
Reckless driving trials are held in the Petersburg General District Court (for the 11th Judicial District of Virginia). The court is located at 35 East Tabb Street, across Adams from the Centre Hill Mansion in downtown Petersburg. Traffic court is usually all day on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
If it is not practical for you to make your court date, you may be able to sign a General Power of Attorney (POA) form so your Petersburg reckless driving lawyer can appear in court on your behalf.