The Commonwealth of Virginia is home to some of the strictest speeding laws in the country. Most people who move here are surprised by the laws, and many learn the hard way that Virginia police officers take speeding very seriously.
One very important question to answer is, how many miles over the speed limit is reckless driving?
Read along to find out what speed is considered reckless driving, how you can avoid a ticket or criminal charges, and what to do if you find yourself summoned to court due to a speeding violation.
SPEEDING LAWS EXPLAINED
If you are caught exceeding the Virginia speed limit, you can expect to be fined a minimum of $6 per mph you were going over the limit. You will also earn demerit points that will go on your Virginia driving record.
You can learn more about speeding ticket fines and demerit points.
We will focus mostly on reckless driving in this post. What is the reckless driving speed in Virginia? Virginia code § 46.2-862 says,
RECKLESS DRIVING VS GENERAL SPEEDING
Is all speeding considered reckless driving? No. Reckless driving is driving in a manner that endangers life or property, and speeding alone can be charged as reckless driving if the speed is excessive.
The traffic infraction we call “speeding” is typically charged if you are going 84 mph or less, or 1 to 19 miles over the posted speed limit. If you are caught going any number of miles over the speed limit in any zone on any street or highway, you could be pulled over and ticketed. The best way to avoid a ticket is to drive the speed limit or under; if you are caught speeding, be polite and cooperate with the officer.
However, if you are caught going 20 miles per hour (or more) over the speed limit or over 85 miles per hour, you may get a summons to court for reckless driving, which is a Class 1 misdemeanor.
If you feel you have received the ticket or summons in error and should not have to pay it or show up in court, call the experienced Virginia traffic attorneys at Cook Attorneys and talk to us about your defense options.
PENALTIES FOR RECKLESS DRIVING
Because reckless driving is a misdemeanor, you cannot prepay a reckless driving ticket; you (or your lawyer) have to show up in court. If the judge finds you guilty, you will face some or all of the following:
- A fine—up to $2,500
- Jail time—up to 12 months
- Driver’s license suspension—10 days to 6 months
- Demerit points—6 points
Additionally, being convicted of a misdemeanor gives you a criminal record. This can make it harder to pass background checks for work, school, the military, or rental applications.
CAN YOU GO TO JAIL FOR SPEEDING?
Can you get arrested for speeding? No police officer will arrest you for simply violating Virginia speeding laws. They will issue you a ticket and expect you to pay it in due course or appear in court.
If you are pulled over for speeding, and it turns out that you are driving under the influence or have outstanding warrants for your arrest, you could end up being arrested on the spot. But you won’t be arrested or do jail time for a simple speeding ticket.
If you are pulled over for reckless or aggressive driving, however, you could end up serving jail time. In some counties in Virginia, you get “automatic” jail time for going over 90 mph, period.
The chances of going to jail for reckless driving in Virginia are slim for a first offense, but you shouldn’t risk going to court without a lawyer. If this is not your first reckless driving offense, there is a higher chance of doing jail time.
The best way to avoid jail time is to abide by the speed limit. But if you are pulled over, be polite to the police officer. If you are summoned for reckless driving, call Cook Attorneys as soon as you can so we can advocate for you.
WHEN TO GET A LAWYER INVOLVED IN A SPEEDING CASE
You should call the seasoned traffic defense lawyers at Cook Attorneys in Harrisonburg, VA whenever you think you’ve been wrongly ticketed or summoned. And you should especially call whenever you are facing reckless driving charges.
In order for charges to stick, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you broke the law. Our experienced lawyers know the defenses you can use against reckless driving charges, and can help you come up with the most effective defense plan.
We can work to get your sentence reduced or waived, and we will be on your team when you go to court.
Fill out the form below to request more information about how we can serve you. We look forward to hearing from you!