Virginia Reckless Driving By Speed Charges

In Virginia, reckless driving by speed refers to a specific type of reckless driving which anyone can be charged with if they’re going 20 miles per hour or more over the posted speed limit or if they’re going in excess of 80 miles per hour anywhere in Virginia. Although this offense may seem similar to a speeding ticket, it is actually considered a criminal offense and is therefore much more serious, requiring the attention of a Virginia reckless driving lawyer.

Excessive Speeding Charges

Virginia is one of the few states that criminalizes speeding. So while it’s very common for people to think it’s just speeding so it’s not very serious, it’s still a criminal offense and it’s the highest class of misdemeanor possible. This is the same level of offense that someone would be charged with if they were shoplifting or if they assaulted somebody.

Some careers will have different requirements and priorities in which a class 1 misdemeanor conviction will not be acceptable whatsoever. Other careers are going to maybe look at it as not so serious because it’s still a driving offense and not something like assault or shoplifting.  However, there is really no situation where having a class 1 misdemeanor conviction on your record is going to be viewed as a positive. Therefore, the best thing you can do is avoid having a conviction in the first place and not having to worry later whether it’s really going to look bad on your record or not.

Are There Any Legal Excuses For Speeding?

In court, it’s very rare that a judge will accept an excuse for driving at such high speeds. Generally, the only real acceptable excuse is an emergency situation where the defendant must prove that the reason they were driving was due to an emergency and it could not have been avoided without risking life or limb. There are mitigating excuses such as an incorrect speedometer, assuming that it’s not so drastically off that it would be unreasonable for someone to rely on it. If someone has a clean record, then often times, this is helpful in having a judge decide to give him a break so as not to ruin their perfect record since it’s generally a one-time thing for them to be charged.


Reckless driving is a very serious offense, it’s a class 1 misdemeanor, which is the most serious type of misdemeanor — right below felony charges. The maximum penalty is 12 months in jail, a $2500 fine, and a license suspension of up to six months.  These are serious long-term consequences and a lawyer can provide multiple defenses, which could possibly result in having this charge reduced or even dismissed completely.

Difference Between a Speeding Ticket and Reckless Driving

A speeding ticket is a traffic infraction and therefore carries points on your driving record, and perhaps a fine. By contrast, reckless driving is a misdemeanor charge, which means that a conviction is permanent on your criminal record in addition to points on your driving record.  The consequences are more serious because jail time is a possibility and the fines possible are much more expensive, going as far as $2500.

How To Tell Which You’ve Received

On the document the officer gives you at the stop, they will specify whether it’s speeding or reckless driving.  If there is no distinction, then you can tell directly underneath the offense charged whether there is a box checked.  If the box is checked, this says that you do not have to appear in court to answer for the charge.  If you are not required to appear in court, the charge is speeding.  Misdemeanors require the defendant to be present during the hearing.  Therefore, if you’ve been charged with reckless driving, the box will not be checked or the entire section will be crossed out entirely.

Impact on CDL Holders

If you have too many serious violations in a short period of time, it’s possible for your commercial driver’s license to be disqualified. Disqualifications will be imposed by the DMV for reckless driving committed while operating either a commercial motor vehicle or a noncommercial motor vehicle.

Steps An Attorney Will Take

Your attorney can help you figure out what defenses are possible for your situation.  There are a number of possible defenses for reckless driving cases, but usually, the best way to go about it is providing mitigating evidence to lessen the seriousness of the consequences that the judge decides to dole out.  For example, an attorney can tell you whether you should complete a driver improvement class, or get your speedometer calibrated, or sometimes even do community service.  There are a lot of things that a defendant can do to prepare for court and an attorney can help you figure out what are the best things that you can do to give yourself the best possible chance on the day of your hearing.