Serious Virginia Traffic Violations
Reckless Driving • Driving on Suspended/Revoked License • Speeding
Virginia traffic laws are severe and tickets are given out regularly. In Fairfax County alone, police officers issue over 50 tickets per day for speeding. See “Combating Speeding and Unsafe Driving in Fairfax County” (http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/braddock/pressreleases/roadsafety.htm). This does not include the laundry list of other ticketable traffic offenses, including reckless driving and driving on a suspended or revoked license. Before you are required to appear before a judge, you should consult with a traffic attorney. At the Law Office of James A. Rivera, we look at the circumstances leading up to and surrounding your traffic offense to ensure you are treated fairly when in court. In some cases we may be able to get the charges against you reduced or dismissed.
Reckless Driving in Virginia is a criminal offense. It is a class 1 misdemeanor that carries six DMV points, a potential jail sentence of 12 months, and a potential fine of $2,500. A conviction of reckless driving stays on your record for 11 years and you could lose your license for up to 6 months.
Most tickets given for reckless driving are based upon speed. You can be charged with reckless driving if you drive more than 20 miles per hour over the posted speed limit, or if you drive over 80 miles per hour, regardless of the posted speed limit.
“A person shall be guilty of reckless driving who drives a motor vehicle on the highways in the Commonwealth (i) at a speed of twenty miles per hour or more in excess of the applicable maximum speed limit or (ii) in excess of eighty miles per hour regardless of the applicable maximum speed limit.”
However, you can still be charged with reckless driving even if you are not speeding, but the officer believes you are driving in such a way as to endanger the life or property of another.
“Irrespective of the maximum speeds permitted by law, any person who drives a vehicle on any highway recklessly or at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person shall be guilty of reckless driving.”
Driving on a Suspended/Revoked License
Driving on a suspended or revoked license carry serious penalties if convicted. Even as a first offense, you many lose additional driving privileges and be charged a fine up to $1,500. If you are convicted a second time, you are charged with a class 1 misdemeanor, and if you are convicted three or more times there is a mandatory 10 day jail sentence! The more previous license suspensions on your record, the more jail time you are likely to receive.
“No resident or nonresident (i) whose driver’s license, learner’s permit, or privilege to drive a motor vehicle has been suspended or revoked or (ii) who has been directed not to drive by any court or by the Commissioner, or (iii) who has been forbidden, as prescribed by operation of any statute of the Commonwealth or a substantially similar ordinance of any county, city or town, to operate a motor vehicle in the Commonwealth shall thereafter drive any motor vehicle or any self-propelled machinery or equipment on any highway in the Commonwealth until the period of such suspension or revocation has terminated or the privilege has been reinstated or a restricted license is issued pursuant to subsection E.”
Speeding tickets in Virginia are costly and can have unforeseen consequences. The Virginia DMV has a complicated system of points that can stay on your driving record for 3-11 years. This system works with a combination of “safe points” and “demerit points”. For every year you drive without any violations or suspensions, you are given one “safe point” until you hit the maximum +5 points. Traffic violations are assigned a certain number of “demerit points”, and each time you commit a traffic violation, demerit points are added to your record. These demerit points subtract from your safe points. The number of points for speeding and the number of years they stay on your record are as follows:
- 1-9 mph over the speed limit: 3 demerit points on your record for 3 years
- 10-19 mph over the speed limit: 4 demerit points on your record for 5 years
- 20+ mph over the speed limit: 6 demerit points on your record for 11 years
For more information, visit the Virginia DMV website here.
It is important to consult an attorney for any of the above traffic offenses. At the very least, your driving record might be affected for longer than you realize, and at most you could be facing a substantial fine and jail time.
Contact our office today at (703) 668-0561 or firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free consultation with an experienced attorney.