What Are the Consequences of Being Convicted of “Reckless Driving”?
The term “reckless driving” refers to a large number of traffic offenses in Virginia. With limited exceptions, each of these offenses is a Class 1 misdemeanor. This means that reckless driving is a criminal charge, and a conviction for reckless driving will go on your permanent criminal record. What all these offenses have in common is their status as serious offenses carrying harsh penalties for those convicted. If you are convicted of reckless driving, you could face:
- Up to 12 months in jail,
- Up to a $2,500 fine,
- The addition of six demerit points to your Virginia driver’s license, and
- The suspension of your driving privileges in Virginia (even if you have a driver’s license from another state).
Even if you do not live in Virginia and you have a clean driving record in your home state, be aware that many states have what is called “reciprocity” with Virginia and might also suspend your driving privileges in your home state if you are convicted of reckless driving in Virginia.
Those are just the penalties that the court will impose on you. Insurance companies will assess penalties of their own. If you are convicted of reckless driving, your car insurance premiums might be affected for years to come. And, if you have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and are convicted of reckless driving, your employment might be affected—even if you were driving your personal vehicle on your own time when you received the ticket.
Which Offenses Qualify as “Reckless Driving”?
The list below describes the specific traffic offenses deemed by the Commonwealth of Virginia to be reckless driving. (Tip: Your ticket should list the number of the Code section with which you have been charged. You can take that number and match it to the list below.) If you have been charged with reckless driving in Southside Virginia, contact one of our lawyers to schedule your consultation immediately.
- § 46.2-852 – Reckless driving; general rule: 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.
- § 46.2-853 – Driving vehicle which is not under control; faulty brakes: A person shall be guilty of reckless driving who drives a vehicle which is not under proper control or which has inadequate or improperly adjusted brakes on any highway in the Commonwealth.
- § 46.2-854 – Passing on or at the crest of a grade or on a curve: A person shall be guilty of reckless driving who, while driving a vehicle, overtakes and passes another vehicle proceeding in the same direction, on or approaching the crest of a grade or on or approaching a curve in the highway, where the driver’s view along the highway is obstructed, except where the overtaking vehicle is being operated on a highway having two or more designated lanes of roadway for each direction of travel or on a designated one-way roadway or highway.
- § 46.2-855 – Driving with driver’s view obstructed or control impaired: A person shall be guilty of reckless driving who drives a vehicle when it is so loaded, or when there are in the front seat such number of persons, as to obstruct the view of the driver to the front or sides of the vehicle or to interfere with the driver’s control over the driving mechanism of the vehicle.
- § 46.2-856 – Passing two vehicles abreast: A person shall be guilty of reckless driving who passes or attempts to pass two other vehicles abreast, moving in the same direction, except on highways having separate roadways of three or more lanes for each direction of travel, or on designated one-way streets or highways. This section shall not apply, however, to a motor vehicle passing two other vehicles when one or both of such other vehicles is a bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device, electric power-assisted bicycle, or moped; nor shall this section apply to a bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device, electric power-assisted bicycle, or moped passing two other vehicles.
- § 46.2-857 – Driving two abreast in a single lane: A person shall be guilty of reckless driving who drives any motor vehicle so as to be abreast of another vehicle in a lane designed for one vehicle, or drives any motor vehicle so as to travel abreast of any other vehicle traveling in a lane designed for one vehicle. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit two two-wheeled motorcycles from traveling abreast while traveling in a lane designated for one vehicle. In addition, this section shall not apply to (i) any validly authorized parade, motorcade, or motorcycle escort; (ii) a motor vehicle traveling in the same lane of traffic as a bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device, electric power-assisted bicycle, or moped; nor shall it apply to (iii) any vehicle when lawfully overtaking and passing one or more vehicles traveling in the same direction in a separate lane.
- § 46.2-858 – Passing at a railroad grade crossing: A person shall be guilty of reckless driving who overtakes or passes any other vehicle proceeding in the same direction at any railroad grade crossing or at any intersection of highways unless such vehicles are being operated on a highway having two or more designated lanes of roadway for each direction of travel or unless such intersection is designated and marked as a passing zone or on a designated one-way street or highway, or while pedestrians are passing or about to pass in front of either of such vehicles, unless permitted so to do by a traffic light or law-enforcement officer.
- § 46.2-859 – Passing a stopped school bus; prima facie evidence: A person is guilty of reckless driving who fails to stop, when approaching from any direction, any school bus which is stopped on any highway, private road, or school driveway for the purpose of taking on or discharging children, the elderly, or mentally or physically handicapped persons, and to remain stopped until all the persons are clear of the highway, private road or school driveway and the bus is put in motion.
- § 46.2-860 – Failing to give proper signals: A person shall be guilty of reckless driving who fails to give adequate and timely signals of intention to turn, partly turn, slow down, or stop, as required by statute.
- § 46.2-861 – Driving too fast for highway and traffic conditions: A person shall be guilty of reckless driving who exceeds a reasonable speed under the circumstances and traffic conditions existing at the time, regardless of any posted speed limit.
- § 46.2-862 – Exceeding 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. (This is as opposed to a charge of “simple speeding,” which carries penalties that are less harsh.)
- § 46.2-863 – Failure to yield right-of-way: A person shall be guilty of reckless driving who fails to bring his vehicle to a stop immediately before entering a highway from a side road when there is traffic approaching on such highway within 500 feet of such point of entrance, unless (i) a “Yield Right-of-Way” sign is posted or (ii) where such sign is posted, fails, upon entering such highway, to yield the right-of-way to the driver of a vehicle approaching on such highway from either direction.
- § 46.2-864 – Reckless driving on parking lots, etc.: A person shall be guilty of reckless driving who operates any motor vehicle at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person: 1. On any driveway or premises of a church, school, recreational facility, or business property open to the public; or 2. On the premises of any industrial establishment providing parking space for customers, patrons, or employees; or 3. On any highway under construction or not yet open to the public.
- § 46.2-865 – Racing; penalty: Any person who engages in a race between two or more motor vehicles on the highways in the Commonwealth or on any driveway or premises of a church, school, recreational facility, or business property open to the public in the Commonwealth shall be guilty of reckless driving, unless authorized by the owner of the property or his agent.
Contact One of Our Skilled Reckless Driving Lawyers Without Delay!
Because reckless driving is such a serious traffic offense, it can take some time to develop your case, so please do not delay in seeking legal help. Our attorneys regularly defend clients in local courts throughout Southside Virginia, including the courts in Amelia County, Appomattox County, Buckingham County, Brunswick County, Campbell County, Charlotte County, Cumberland County, Dinwiddie County, Halifax County, Lunenburg County, Mecklenburg County, Nottoway County, and Prince Edward County (including tickets written along I-95, I-85, US-460, US-360, US-60, US-58, and US-15). If you have been charged with any of these serious traffic offenses in Southside Virginia, contact one of our experienced reckless driving lawyers without delay!