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Reckless driving may sound like a relatively simple traffic ticket, but the truth is that reckless driving is a serious criminal offense in Virginia. Reckless driving carries many of the same penalties as a DUI, and it should be treated with the same degree of diligence. If you have been charged with reckless driving in Fairfax, Alexandria, Arlington, Prince William, or Loudoun County, you should reach out to the experienced reckless driving attorneys of Ervin Kibria today.
If you’ve been charged with reckless driving, it is important to understand what sort consequences you could be facing when choosing whether to hire an attorney. Here are a few of the common punishments that unrepresented defendants face:
Yes, jail is a possible punishment for Virginia reckless driving, however judges typically do not impose jail time until at least 95 mph and usually only at 100 mph (or 30+ over the speed limit). That varies depending upon the judge and many other factors, but 90 is not the normal jail threshold.
Some areas of Virginia do use 90 mph as a jail threshold, but it’s important to understand that every case differs. You’re not automatically going to jail even if a particular judge uses a certain speed as a line in the sand.
The differences in jail time make it critically important to discuss your case with an attorney who knows the local players involved in your case.
The most common punishment for reckless driving is a fine. However, the specific fine will depend upon a variety of factors including the local court.
The maximum fine that can legally be imposed is $2,500. Depending upon all the facts of the case, an average reckless driving fine is generally between $300 to $1,000.
Some judges have rules of thumb for the fine. For instance, for many judges a reckless driving conviction for 90 in a 65mph zone would be a $250 fine plus court costs of $81. Virginia law gives you at least 30 days to pay anything you owe to the court. If you need additional time, you can ask the court for a longer payment deadline. But these are just the court imposed punishments.
After jail, losing your license is often the punishment that most defendants are concerned about the most. However, license suspension is similar to jail time. It doesn’t happen in the average reckless driving case, but it’s always possible, especially in higher speed cases.
In cases where the judge suspends your driver’s license, he can authorize a restricted license. This gives you permission to drive for specific purposes, such as going to work, attending school, taking your children to school, and going to the doctor. A restricted license doesn’t give you blanket permission to drive whenever you want, but it can at least help you get to work.
Aside from fines, jail, and license suspension, insurance premiums are a major concern for many drivers. What will a reckless driving conviction due to your insurance premiums?
What will happen to your specific insurance premiums depends on your insurance carrier. That said, according to one insurance survey, a reckless driving conviction increases premiums on average by 21.8%! A regular speeding ticket for 1-14 mph over the limit only increases premiums 10.62% on average.
Using those numbers, if you’re currently paying $100 per month for insurance, a reckless driving conviction would cost you $261 more per year in insurance premiums alone. If the insurance company considers the conviction for multiple years, the expense gets worse. Hiring an attorney certainly costs some money up front, but avoiding a reckless driving conviction could easily save money in the long run.
Practicing near D.C., I’ve represented many people who were concerned about their security clearance. Rightfully so.
Your supervisor or security clearance review officer will know the best answer for your situation and clearance level, but any misdemeanor conviction could threaten a clearance. Based on my experience, one reckless driving conviction usually does not kill a clearance. However, multiple convictions could be seen as a judgment problem. But you will certainly need to speak with your clearance review officer to know the best route for your job security.
Need more information? Contact a reckless driving attorney now at (703) 962-7790
Justin Ervin is a criminal defense and immigration attorney who practices in Northern Virginia.