Guest post by Andrew Flusche, Virginia reckless driving lawyer
In my Virginia reckless driving defense practice, you’d be surprised how many Pennyslvania drivers I’ve represented. Even if you’re not from Virginia, you need to know of the law in Virginia regarding reckless driving.
What is reckless driving in Virginia?
What most people do not realize is that in Virginia, going over 80 miles an hour or 20 or more miles an hour over the limit is considered reckless driving. It is a class 1 misdemeanor that you can be punished by facing jail time for up to one year, a fine up to $2,500 and/or a license suspension for up to six months.
How does this apply to Pennsylvania drivers? The most common scenario is that drivers are traveling from Pennsylvania to a Southern state. They are driving through Virginia on I-95 and are going over 80 mph. They are pulled over for speeding and the trooper charges them for reckless driving.
Like I said before, in Virginia any speed over 80 miles an hour is considered reckless driving. When you have a 70 mph speed limit and you’re going 11 mph over the limit, that is a reckless driving ticket. Some officers will give out-of-state people a little break if they have a good driving record. Another key is to be polite and cooperative. In this case, they may just write the ticket for just plain speeding. Then you can pay the fine and not have anything else to worry about.
Unfortunately, some officers will go by the book. If they clock you at 11 mph over the limit, they will write a ticket for reckless driving.
What do I need to do about a Virginia reckless driving ticket?
My first piece of advice to anyone is to call to an experienced, local attorney who regularly handles cases like yours. You need to ask them if they regularly handle cases in the local court system where you were charged. If they say no, find someone who can say yes to both.
A free consultation with a lawyer will do you no good if you are getting incorrect advice. They will have no way of knowing if they are giving you the right advice since they have never practiced in the particular court system where you are charged. Reckless driving cases are so different in Virginia and can differ depending on your judge and prosecutor, so having a local attorney is the only way to go.
Am I really facing jail time for reckless driving in Virginia?
In Virginia, you can be punished by jail time. It is a possible punishment for reckless driving. However jail time is not a common occurrence, at least in the counties where I practice. Jail time does become more likely in cases of very high speed, typically in cases where you are ticketed with going 30 mph and over 100 mph. These are cases where jail time is a serious threat. In my experience, jail time is unavoidable for cases with speeds of 100 mph and over.
My Pennsylvania clients are always surprised by the strict Virginia law and to learn that jail time is possible for a speeding ticket.
What’s the bottom line?
Just remember when you’re driving in Virginia, keep the speed limit under 80. Set the cruise control, or put a sticky note on your dashboard. Keeping your speed under 80 is the best and easiest way to avoid a Virginia reckless driving ticket.
If you do end up being charged with a Virginia reckless driving ticket, remember to consult with a local, experienced attorney who can layout your options and help you get the best possible outcome.
Andrew Flusche lives in Fredericksburg, Virginia and helps people from all over the country with their reckless driving Virginia tickets. He also wrote the five-star consumer book, Fight Your Virginia Reckless Driving Ticket. Find Andrew on Google+.