Reckless driving is not a traffic offense in Virginia. It is a criminal offense. It is a Class 1 Misdemeanor which means that a conviction could result in a jail sentence. The range of punishment for reckless driving is up to a maximum of 12 months in jail and up to a maximum fine of $2,500. It is a serious offense.
Traffic offenses, on the other hand, are infractions and may result in a fine, court costs and, in some situations, suspension of your operator’s license. Speeding, unlike reckless driving, is a traffic offense which means it is punishable by a fine but not incarceration. Both reckless driving and speeding carry demerit points which can affect the status of your operator’s license.
Our laws define many different types of reckless driving. Speeding in excess of certain limits may be found to be reckless driving. Operating a motor vehicle in a manner that endangers life, limb or property may be reckless driving. These are probably the two most commonly charged reckless driving offenses. There are several others; however, and when charged the summons or warrant may not identify the charge as reckless driving even though it is. Because reckless driving is a crime which can result in a jail sentence, you may want to hire a lawyer to represent you. While traffic offenses are not as serious as reckless driving, a lawyer may be able to have the charge reduced or perhaps even dismissed in some cases. Having an operator’s license is a privilege and one well worth protecting.