Reckless driving charges may seem minor to you. Yet in Virginia, the penalties can be stiff depending on the offense you’re accused of. If you’re facing these charges, it’s important to know the state’s reckless driving laws. Learning them can help you understand your potential consequences.

Understanding reckless driving

Reckless driving refers to any vehicular offense that endangers other motorists. These differ from moving infractions because your actions must show willful disregard for safety. Such offenses include:

  • Traveling faster than conditions allow
  • Traveling faster than 80 miles per hour
  • Traveling 20 miles per hour or more over the posted speed limit
  • Street racing
  • Passing a stopped school bus
  • Passing an emergency vehicle
  • Driving a vehicle with brake issues
  • Failing to signal when appropriate

You will receive six demerit points if you’re charged with a reckless driving offense. In Virginia, these will remain on your license for two years. And most reckless driving charges will remain on your record for 11 years after the offense happened.

Reckless driving’s consequences

Most reckless driving offenses qualify as Class 1 misdemeanors. This charge could cause you to receive a driver’s license suspension for up to six months. You may also have to pay a fine of up to $2,500. And you could spend up to one year in jail, depending on your offense. Yet, your reckless driving offense may have happened after your license was suspended or revoked. Or, it may have caused the death of another person. In these cases, you will receive felony charges instead.

Beyond reckless driving’s legal impact, it could also affect your livelihood. Since your charges will remain on your record for over a decade, employers can view these when performing a background check on you. And if you currently work in a job that involves driving, you may face termination for your traffic offense.

Reckless driving charges are not as insignificant as they seem. If you receive them, an attorney can help you down the road forward.