Reckless Driving Charges in Portsmouth, VA

It you are charged with reckless driving, you’re being charged with a criminal offense, which is very serious. Reckless driving is a class one misdemeanor which is the most serious class of misdemeanors.

Being charged with a reckless driving means you now face the potential of having a conviction that will last forever on your criminal record. It’s important to understand that a reckless driving conviction is a much bigger deal than a speeding ticket which only has an effect on your DMV record. Due to the severity of this charge, it is important that if you are charged you consult with a reckless driving lawyer in Portsmouth to help minimize the harm of your charge.

Reckless Driving By Speed and More

The most common way that people are charged with reckless driving is by speed. One is if you are driving faster than 80 miles per hour no matter what the limit is. Virginia considers anything over 80 miles per hour to be a dangerous and reckless speed. Another way is if you are driving more than 20 miles per hour over whatever the posted speed limit is.

Other examples include passing an emergency vehicle with its lights on, merging on to the highway without yielding, passing a stopped school bus, driving too fast for the weather conditions and driving a vehicle with faulty brakes.

What Are The Differences Between Reckless Driving And a Traffic Ticket?

The biggest difference that differentiates a reckless driving charge from a speeding ticket is that it’s a criminal charge, while a traffic ticket is merely a traffic offense that only affects your DMV record. This means that a conviction for reckless driving will also affect your DMV record but it will result in a criminal record as well.

A criminal record is forever while a DMV record is not. As far as court obligations go, a criminal charge requires an appearance by the defendant charged, whereas in the traffic court, the charge can be tried in the defendant’s absence without an attorney even present, which means that the defendant can prepay the fine for traffic and just move on with their life.

Penalties for Reckless Driving in Portsmouth

Since reckless driving is considered a criminal offense, it carries harsher penalties than regular traffic violations. The penalties in Portsmouth include potential jail time of up to 12 months and up to $ 2,500 worth of fine.

A reckless driving conviction also usually includes a six-month license suspension and also some demerit points on a defendant’s driver’s license that can last up to 11 years.

What Makes Reckless Driving Charges In Portsmouth Unique?

Reckless driving charges are unique throughout all of Virginia because they are treated the same as traffic ticket, which can be really confusing to people not familiar with the distinction between a criminal and a traffic charge.

Reckless driving is also unique in that they are criminal cases which are not handled by the Commonwealth attorney’s office but rather by the police officer who charged the defendant. This is another similarity to traffic offenses which again goes to show that people are confused for a good reason.