What are the Penalties for Reckless Driving in Virginia?

Judge using his gavel

Reckless driving is taken extremely seriously in Virginia and carries very strict penalties.  However, in the majority of Virginia reckless driving cases I am able to negotiate a reduction or even a dismissal of the alleged offense.  In the unfortunate event that you are actually convicted of reckless driving, the judge has the option to throw the book at you and give you the maximum penalties of a $2500 fine, 12-month jail sentence, and 6-month license suspension. 

That scenario is not a very likely outcome for most reckless driving cases. Realistically, most Virginia judges don’t consider even approaching the maximum penalties except for the most egregious reckless driving cases, such as traveling well over 100 miles per hour.

The penalty that should be expected for your reckless driving case heavily depends on the particular facts of your cases including your driving history, as well as, the court and judge hearing your case.

Some judges like to use driving school or community service as a tool for reducing or even dismissing your reckless driving case.  In this situation, you will be required to find an appropriate driving school or non-profit organization and complete it by the deadline set by the court.  If the case is dismissed, you will likely only owe court costs.  However, if the judge only agrees to reduce the charge and not dismiss it, he will have the authority to collect a fine in addition to the court costs. The judge will typically give you 30 days to have this amount paid.

Other judges, prefer to reduce a reckless driving charge without the need to complete a defensive driving program.  There is certainly going to be some sort of fine for these cases. The amount of which will largely depend on the alleged speed and your driving history.

Unfortunately, there are scenarios where a judge may be unwilling to reduce the reckless driving charge.  Some judges are very strict with reckless driving, and it is often much more difficult to obtain a reduction in cases before those judges.  This is one example of why it is important to speak with an attorney who is familiar with both your court and the judge hearing your cases.

In other instances, the judge may be unwilling to reduce the charge due to the alleged speed and/or your driving history, among other factors.  In these situations, there becomes a stronger likelihood of a higher fine, license suspension, and possibly some period of incarceration.  However, even in these worst case scenarios, it is very unlikely that the judge would be seeking the maximum penalties.

If you have been charged with reckless driving in Virginia, you should consult with an attorney who is familiar with your court and judge.  Only such an attorney will be able to provide an accurate consultation regarding the likely penalties you are facing for your reckless driving charge.