Difference Between Reckless Driving and Speeding

In Virginia Beach reckless driving is different from a speeding ticket in that it is much more serious and means you have something to put others life, limb, or property at harm. If you are charged with simple speeding, typically the fastest that you could have been going was 19 miles/hour over speed limit whereas reckless driving is 20 miles/hour or over the speed limit. Reckless driving is also charged as a criminal charge instead of a traffic infraction so it is a jailable offense which has a conviction that will last forever and as a result much harsher penalties than just a traffic infraction or a speeding ticket.

Reckless driving is considered a Class 1 misdemeanor which is the most serious level of misdemeanor making it a criminal charge. For this reason, it is important to understand what this means for both the short and long term and do everything possible to avoid a conviction. For assistance in gaining information on your charge or building a defense, call and schedule a consultation with a Virginia Beach reckless driving lawyer today.

What Does Reckless Driving Mean in Virginia Compared to Speeding?

In Virginia reckless driving encompasses a whole variety of different moving violations. In general this means any behavior where you are operating a motor vehicle in a reckless manner that endangers life, limb or property. The most common type of reckless driving charge is by speed which is when you are driving either 20 miles/hour over the posted speed limit or 80 miles/hour. This is in contrast to speeding which simply means that you were going over the designated speed limit or faster than road conditions allow.

What Are Some Different Ways Reckless Driving Can Be Charged?

The most common way that reckless driving is charged is by excessive speed which is 20 miles/hour over the posted speed limit or 80 miles/hour in general, however, there is a whole bunch of other ways that it can be charged as well.

You can be charged with reckless driving for:

  • Passing a stopped school bus that is loading or unloading passengers,
  • Passing an emergency vehicle with its lights on,
  • Driving too fast for current weather conditions,
  • Driving with faulty brakes
  • Drag racing.

There is also a catch-all category of reckless driving which is called general reckless driving through which you can put almost any kind of behavior in if the officer can just show that you were driving in a manner that endangers life, limb or property. It is pretty common that when people are in accidents and officers are called to the scene that they will issue somebody a reckless driving by accident ticket.

What Are The Penalties For Reckless Driving As Opposed to Speeding?

Reckless driving is a criminal charge. It is a Class 1 Misdemeanor which means that the maximum punishment is 12 months in jail and a fine of $2500. Conviction also affects your driving records and it is 6 total points added which remain on the DMV records for 11 years.

For the most common type of reckless driving which is excessive speed the faster you are going the worst the penalties tend to be. If you are going really, really fast it is not uncommon for someone to get thrown in jail and their license suspended.

What Is The Role Of An Attorney In Reckless Driving Case?

The role of an attorney in a reckless driving case is to shed reasonable doubt on the elements of the charge to potentially get the case dismissed or get the charges reduced. An attorney does this by presenting evidence for your defense as well as providing a strong cross-examination of the police officer that issued the summons.

It is really important to have a good attorney that knows how to do this well and who can object during an officer’s testimony anytime there is a legal basis to do so. A good attorney can keep out certain evidence even before the case goes on and sometimes they can have the case dismissed on technicalities despite whatever the speed was.