Reckless Driving Charges in Norfolk, Virginia

Below, a Norfolk reckless driving lawyer discusses what you should know if you’ve been charged with reckless driving in Virginia. To discuss the specifics of your charge call today and schedule a free consultation.

Reckless driving in Norfolk is the same as it is in all of Virginia but what makes this offense in Virginia different from other states is how seriously the Commonwealth views reckless cases based on speed. Some other states have reckless driving statutes that include accidents and similar situations but they don’t have anything that makes driving excessively fast a criminal offense. Virginia treats driving at excessive speeds as more than a traffic infraction, and actually as a misdemeanor which makes it impossible to prepay the fines and obligates the driver to appear in court and face harsh penalties and possible jail time.

Reckless driving is a class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $2,500 and up to 12 months in jail. On top of this, there can be serious repercussions for your driving privileges. With reckless driving, it can result in a suspended license and it results in 6 demerit points on the driving records.

Types of Charges

In Virginia, reckless driving is defined as operating a motor vehicle in a manner that endangers life, limb, or property. The most common type of reckless driving is reckless driving due to excessive speeding, which occurs when someone is driving 80 mph or more anywhere in Virginia or 20 mph or more over the posted speed limit.

Along with excessive speed, reckless driving can encompass a variety of moving violations that occur when someone is operating a vehicle in a manner that endangers life, limb, or property. The most prominent charges are passing a stopped school bus or emergency vehicle with its lights on, drag racing, driving too fast for the current conditions, driving with faulty brakes, and a catchall category of general reckless driving, which oftentimes can include accidents.

Where the Case Is Heard

The case will initially be heard in the Norfolk General District Court which is located in Downtown Norfolk and actually recently as of the beginning of 2015 moved into a brand new location where it shares the courthouse with the Circuit Court. If the reckless driving case is appealed from General District then it goes upstairs to the Circuit Court. If the offense occurred on federal property then it is heard in the Federal Courthouse which is just a few blocks away also in downtown.

Long-Term Implications

A reckless driving conviction ultimately means that someone will have a permanent criminal conviction on their record for the rest of their life. Some people are under the mistaken impression that after a certain amount of time this conviction can be expunged from the record but this is simply not true.

The conviction will remain on the criminal record forever which potentially comes with issues when the person applies for a job and they face the possibility of being asked if they have ever been convicted of a crime which now requires a ‘Yes’. It may cause issues with their current job if they have certain security clearances that depend on someone’s criminal record for background. Insurance rates usually go up as well after someone is convicted of reckless driving.