Virginia Reckless Driving Charges for Out-of-State Drivers
Virginia prosecutes speeding very harshly. Often, there can be a thin line between what is considered speeding, and what is considered reckless driving. Out-of-state drivers might not know that the speed at which they are driving is not only a ticketable offense, but also the more serious charge of reckless driving, which is a criminal offense and comes with fines, license suspension, and even possible jail time. If you are an out-of-state driver and have been charged with speeding or reckless driving, contact an experienced Virginia reckless driving attorney for representation in your case.
Virginia Speeding Laws
Virginia treats speeding differently than other jurisdictions. In Virginia, speeding can result in a criminal conviction for reckless driving. In other states, the same speed will probably still be a traffic infraction. This means that in Virginia driving 20 miles per hour or more over the posted speed limit or driving 80 miles per hour or more anywhere in Virginia can result in a class 1 misdemeanor for reckless driving. This is punishable by up to 12 months in jail, a fine of up to $2500, and a six months license suspension. This is serious in comparison to consequences one might face in other states for the same kind of speed that would just be a traffic infraction.
Differences Between Speeding Tickets & Reckless Driving
An out-of-state driver who has issued a speeding ticket in Virginia should be 100% certain that they have actually received a speeding ticket and not a reckless driving ticket. They should look on the document that the officer has given them and see whether it specifies speeding or reckless driving. Usually, the summons will say specifically speeding or reckless driving and if it doesn’t then right underneath it, it will say whether the defendant is required to appear in court. If the ticket does not have information explicitly stating that it is either a speeding ticket or a reckless driving ticket, bringing it to a Virginia reckless driving attorney is a good way to determine which charge you are facing. An attorney will be able to tell you if you are being charged with only a traffic infraction or the more serious charge of reckless driving.
This is very important for out of state drivers to be sure of because if it’s a reckless driving charge then you’re going to be required to return to the Virginia jurisdiction in which you were pulled over and appear in court on a specified day.
If the Ticket is a Reckless Driving Charge
The best thing an out-of-state driver can do is hire local lawyer to help them out. Sometimes, if the speeding isn’t very far over reckless driving, then it is possible for the local counsel to appear on their behalf. This is not always the case and it requires a judge’s approval. It is very important to get a lawyer for reckless driving on your side as quickly as possible after you are issued the reckless driving charge. It’s not like a speeding ticket where you can pay in advance and just accept guilt.
Ways a Virginia Reckless Driving Attorney can Help
A local reckless driving lawyer in VA can appear on your behalf to fight the charge. A lawyer can help you understand exactly what it is you’re being charged with so that they can go to court with you and help you fight the charge. Being unaware of Virginia traffic laws is not a defense. If you had no idea that driving in excess of 80 miles per hour is reckless driving, then you’re still going to go home with a reckless driving charge. If you attempt to argue that in court, the judge is probably going to shake his head and then convict you anyway.