While there is a public perception that a reckless driving charge is less serious than, for example, a charge of driving under the influence, the fact is that reckless driving is a serious offense with long-term consequences if the accused is convicted. If you or a loved one is facing a reckless driving charge, you should consult a criminal defense lawyer so that you understand the potential penalties as well as any possible defenses that you may have, such as challenging the legality of the traffic stop. Experienced Richmond reckless driving attorney Margaret B. Davis can help you understand the details of the crime with which you are charged and can help you zealously exercise your legal right to defend yourself.Facing Prosecution for Reckless Driving in Virginia
The crime of reckless driving may occur in several ways. First, the operator of a motor vehicle may be charged with reckless driving if they exceed the posted speed limit by 20 or more miles per hour. Secondly, a driver who operates a vehicle at a speed exceeding 80 miles per hour may be charged with reckless driving, regardless of the posted speed limit. Since the maximum speed limit in Virginia is 70 miles per hour, exceeding the speed limit by just 11 miles per hour may be considered reckless driving in some situations. Thirdly, a driver who “endangers the life, limb, or property of any person” may be found guilty of reckless driving, even if they were not speeding at the time of the offense. Importantly, a person may be convicted of reckless driving under the third provision even if they are not on a public roadway, since Virginia statutory law specifically states that the offense of reckless driving may occur on a driveway, on the premises of a church, school, or other public building, in a parking lot or parking garage, or on a highway that is still in the construction phase.
Generally, people who are convicted of reckless driving may be sentenced to up to a year in jail, be ordered to pay a fine of up to $2,500, and lose their driving privileges for up to six months. If the defendant is found guilty of racing, this may also result in a reckless driving conviction and even more serious consequences than a general reckless driving charge. These include the loss of driving privileges for up to two years and possibly the forfeiture of the offender’s vehicle. Even people who aid or abet in a race, without actually engaging in racing themselves, may be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor. As a reckless driving lawyer in the Richmond area, Margaret B. Davis is familiar with the full range of circumstances under which this offense may be charged, and she can craft a strategy that is tailored to your situation.
If the defendant in a reckless driving case did not have a valid driver’s license at the time of the offense, or if their license had been suspended or revoked due to a moving violation, and the defendant’s conduct resulted in the death of another person, they may be found guilty of a felony, which may result in more than a year of incarceration and substantial fines. People who were using a “handheld personal communications device,” such as a smartphone, while engaging in the conduct that led to the reckless driving charge may face additional penalties, including a mandatory minimum fine. Additionally, a reckless driving conviction may haunt an offender for years because it must be disclosed every time that they fill out an application that asks about the applicant’s previous criminal history.Contact a Knowledgeable Reckless Driving Attorney in Richmond
The sooner that you contact an attorney about your case, the sooner that you can begin fighting for the best possible outcome for your situation, whether that is an acquittal, a reduction in charges, or a favorable plea bargain agreement that will give you the ability to withstand the impact that a conviction will have on your future. Richmond reckless driving lawyer Margaret B. Davis is here to help with your case. For a free appointment, call us today at (804) 354-8800 or contact us online. We represent people throughout the greater Richmond area, including in Midlothian, Chesterfield, Chester, Glen Allen, Tuckahoe, Petersburg, Mechanicsville, Ashland, Williamsburg, Colonial Heights, Bowling Green, Ruther Glen, Goochland, and Hopewell, as well as other areas of Henrico, Chesterfield, Caroline, Goochland, Hanover, James, Mathews, New Kent, and Petersburg Counties. Margaret B. Davis also can assist Virginia residents who need a DUI attorney or advocacy in fighting another type of vehicular charge.