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Reckless Driving by Speed vs. Simple Speeding Ticket? What’s the difference?

Like most every other state, Virginia has the basic traffic infraction of “speeding” (sometimes called “simple speeding”). The most common consequences of “simple speeding” are a fine, court costs, and DMV demerit points. 

Virginia also has an offense called “Reckless Driving by Speed.” Reckless Driving by Speed is a much more serious offense than a simple speeding ticket. 

There are two ways to incur a charge of Reckless Driving by Speed. 

  1. Any time a driver exceeds the speed limit by 20 mph or more, the driver can be charged with Reckless Driving. 

  2. Any time a driver exceeds 80 mph, no matter what the speed limit is, the driver can be charged with Reckless Driving.

Reckless Driving is not a basic traffic infraction. Reckless Driving is a Class 1 Misdemeanor. It is classified as a criminal conviction, of the same severity as charges of DUI, Petit Larceny, or Assault & Battery. Reckless Driving carries the possibility of up to 1 year in jail, a fine of $2,500, and a suspension of the driver’s license. In addition to the impact on a driving record, a conviction will also impact a person’s criminal record.

Bear in mind, it does not matter how “safe” or “dangerous” the person was driving. For example, the driver could be driving on a perfectly straight road, with perfect weather, and no traffic for miles. If the speed limit is 45 mph, as soon as the driver hits 65 mph, the offense is automatically Reckless Driving. Similarly, on the interstates where the speed limit has been raised to 70 mph, as soon as the driver hits 81 mph, the offense is automatically Reckless Driving.

If you have been charged with Reckless Driving or Simple Speeding, do not assume that all hope is lost. Even if you know that you were traveling too fast, you may have several options available to have your charge reduced or dismissed.

Contact my office for a free consultation. During the consultation, I will evaluate your case and explain all of your options.

Please, do not assume that you can handle the charge on your own! The consequences of a criminal conviction can be severe. At the very least, I can evaluate your case and help you understand all of your options. You have nothing to lose by calling.

For a free consultation, call (757) 333-7529.  

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