Understanding Reckless Driving Charges in Colonial Heights

Under Virginia law, there are roughly 15 ways in which a person can be brought up on a reckless driving charge, ranging from speed to impaired vision to lack of control.  Reckless driving is a Class One misdemeanor, which means it carries a maximum penalty of 12 months in jail and a fine of $2,500. A reckless driving conviction also puts a misdemeanor offense on the defendant’s record as opposed to a speeding ticket, which is simply a traffic infraction and not a criminal offense.

For help understanding reckless driving charges in Colonial Heights, consider reaching out to an experienced lawyer. An attorney could explain the complexities of a reckless driving case and work to avoid the serious penalties that can result from a conviction.

How to Distinguish Between a Reckless Driving Charge and a Speeding Ticket

Reckless driving by speed is a criminal offense. Specifically, it is a Class One misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of twelve months in jail and a fine of $2,500. A speeding ticket, by contrast, is a simple traffic infraction that is not considered a criminal offense under Virginia law.

There are two things a person can look for to determine why they were charged with reckless driving. The first is a criminal summons that they would get from the officer when they are officially charged, which takes the place of being served with a warrant. For the criminal summons, the officer will normally write down the charges, meaning that the document will read: “reckless driving by speed,” “reckless driving accident,” etc. The summons will also often have the relevant code section written on the back. Drivers should look for Virginia Code Section 46.2-862.

Consequences of a Reckless Driving Conviction

Reckless driving is a criminal offense, meaning it appears on a person’s criminal record and can significantly impact an individual’s future. Depending on the defendant’s future plans, a conviction could adversely affect their ability to work, attend college, secure a commercial driver’s license, among other complications. Generally speaking, having a criminal misdemeanor on their record will require some explaining and could bar a defendant from specific employment.

The only legal excuse for reckless driving by speed is necessity; if a person is driving over the speed limit on their way to the hospital, for example. Outside of that, the court will not acknowledge any legal excuse for moving at a particular speed or otherwise driving erratically.

Contacting a Reckless Driving an Attorney

Whenever a person is facing charges for reckless driving, they should consider retaining an experienced attorney. Too often, motorists confuse a criminal reckless driving charge with a basic traffic offense and fail to give it the proper amount of scrutiny. As a result, they unnecessarily expose themselves to potential criminal penalties.

A traffic lawyer could help a defendant understand reckless driving charges in Colonial Heights and work towards a reduction or mitigation. Contact an attorney to schedule a consultation and learn about your options.