chances of going to jail for reckless driving in virginia

If charged with reckless driving, you may wonder what are the chances of going to jail for reckless driving in Virginia. Can you go to jail for reckless driving in Virginia?

If you have been charged with reckless driving, contact Virginia Reckless Driving Attorneys, Flusche & Fitzgerald today.

The reality of the situation is that a charge of reckless driving in Virginia may carry jail time.

However, retaining the assistance of a qualified Virginia reckless driving attorney may help you avoid jail time for your charge. 

What Is Reckless Driving? 

In Virginia, reckless driving is any action behind the wheel that is reckless to such a degree as to endanger others’ lives.

Therefore, several different actions may constitute reckless driving in Virginia.

Some typical reckless driving examples include the following:

  • Speeding—driving over 85 mph or exceeding the speed limit by 20 mph or more.
  • Ignoring traffic signs and signals—individuals who race through red lights or stop signs or fail to yield put others on the roadway at risk.
  • Drag racing—racing your vehicle on a roadway where others are driving or pedestrians are present endangers others’ lives.
  • Illegally passing—someone who passes another vehicle illegally on a two-lane roadway with limited visibility dramatically increases the risk of causing a severe car accident. 
  • Operating a dangerous vehicle—a vehicle with bad brakes or without working brake lights or headlights is not fit to travel on a roadway. Taking a vehicle in this condition on the roadway increases the risk of accident and endangers other drivers’ lives. 

Without clearly defined conduct guiding a reckless driving conviction in Virginia, many undefined forms of behavior satisfying the definition of reckless driving may result in a conviction.

For this reason, it’s essential to speak to an experienced attorney promptly to fight accusations in court and strengthen your defense

Will I Go to Jail for Reckless Driving? 

Reckless driving in Virginia qualified as a criminal class one misdemeanor offense. That means reckless driving jail time is possible.

The law can hand down harsh consequences for a reckless driving charge in Virginia.

For example, a conviction for reckless driving may not be expunged and remains on your DMV record for 11 years.

Additionally, a reckless driving conviction may result in some or all of the following consequences: 

  • Maximum of a year in jail,
  • Maximum $2,500 fine,
  • Potential license suspension for up to 6 months, 
  • Increase in auto insurance, 
  • Inability to rent cars, 
  • Six points on your driving record, and
  • A criminal record. 

Additionally, a court appearance may also be required. A reckless driving charge in Virginia constitutes a life-changing event.

For that reason, retain an attorney to assist in fighting on your behalf for a dismissal or reduction of your charges. 

Reckless Driving Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Do I Have to Make a Personal Appearance in Court for a Reckless Driving Charge?

It depends upon the court and the facts of your case. In many cases, an attorney can appear on your behalf.

In high speed cases, if you fail to show up and do not send an attorney, you will be cited for “failure to appear” in addition to your original reckless driving charge. A failure to appear charge can result in jail all by itself.

If you only send an attorney for your case and the judge wanted you there, you will have to surrender yourself to the authorities to serve your sentence if the court sentences you to jail time.

But keep in mind that jail can be avoided in most cases with the help of an experienced attorney.

2. If I Am from Out of State, What Are the Chances that My Home Jurisdiction Will Find Out About My Reckless Driving Charge in Virginia?

Your home state will likely find out about a Virginia reckless driving conviction.

The Driver License Compact and other interstate agreements require states to share information about driving records.

Only a few states are NOT members of the Driver License Compact (i.e. Georgia, Michigan, Tennessee, and Wisconsin), so most people’s home state will find out. Points are always controlled by the state who issued your license.

3. Oklahoma Issued My Driver’s License. Can Virginia Suspend or Revoke My License for Reckless Driving?

No, they cannot, but they can forbid you from driving in Virginia. They can also notify Oklahoma, and Oklahoma will likely respond by suspending or revoking your Oklahoma license based on your reckless driving conviction in Virginia. Oklahoma will apply its own law, not Virginia law.

Related Article: Virginia Reckless Driving For Out of State Drivers

4. If Virginia Originally Charges Me with DUI, Can I Get the Charge Reduced to Reckless Driving?

It can be possible, but this type of outcome is very rare these days. Your attorney will need to plea bargain with the prosecutor, and the prosecutor will need to agree to reduce your charge.

This might be more likely if, for example, your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is only slightly above the legal limit of 0.08% or if we can uncover a legal issue that makes your case difficult to prove.

Ultimately, however, a plea bargain is struck at the prosecutor’s discretion.

5. Can I Represent Myself in Court on a Reckless Driving Charge?

Technically, you can. In fact, you have a constitutional right to represent yourself. However, it’s not usually the best idea. A reckless driving charge is not like a traffic ticket.

It is a criminal offense that can result in jail time. Can you go to jail for reckless driving in Virginia? Yes, jail time does happen for serious reckless driving offenses.

However, jail time is significantly more likely if you don’t have a lawyer advocating on your behalf. 

In case you were thinking about saving money on legal fees by going without representation, imagine how much you will lose if you cannot work because you are incarcerated.

Imagine how much more money you might lose if you lose your job because of a criminal conviction.

And then there is the potential insurance increase due to having a reckless driving conviction on your record. These are just a few of the reasons why it truly makes sense to consult with a top-notch traffic attorney.

Contact a Virginia Reckless Driving Attorney today 

A charge of reckless driving in Virginia is not merely a traffic infraction. No one wants to wonder if they will go to jail for reckless driving.

Therefore, acting quickly to seek out the assistance of a qualified attorney may make a difference in the outcome of your case. 

At Flusche & Fitzgerald, we provide clients with years of experience focused on traffic and misdemeanor cases. Through this intentional focus,we can help you navigate the best path forward.

We are dedicated to your flexibility, and we can handle much of your case via phone and email to limit interruptions to your life. Contact our office today to discuss your reckless driving charge.

Author Photo

Andrew Flusche

Andrew Flusche is a traffic and misdemeanor lawyer in Fredericksburg, Virginia. He helps clients overcome their honest mistakes, and fights for client’s licenses, their jobs, their freedom, and even their insurance rates. Andrew earned his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Virginia School of Law and then opened his practice in 2008.  Your initial consultation is always free, and you’ll talk directly with Andrew about any details concerning your case. If you need help and want to get started on your case reach out and ask Andrew a question about your charge.