Reckless driving violations are very serious charges to face in Virginia. A conviction carries penalties like fines, license suspension and a class 1 misdemeanor. These consequences have lasting effects and can burden even the most proactive motorist.
There are 14 different statutes for reckless driving in Virginia:
- § 46.2-852 Reckless driving; general rule
- § 46.2-853 Driving vehicle which is not under control; faulty brakes.
- § 46.2-854 Passing on or at the crest of a grade or on a curve.
- § 46.2-855 Driving with driver’s view obstructed or control impaired.
- § 46.2-856 Passing two vehicles abreast.
- § 46.2-857 Driving two abreast in a single lane.
- § 46.2-858 Passing at a railroad grade crossing.
- § 46.2-859 Passing a stopped school bus; prima facie evidence.
- § 46.2-860 Failing to give proper signals.
- § 46.2-861 Driving too fast for highway and traffic conditions.
- § 46.2-862 Exceeding speed limit.
- § 46.2-863 Failure to yield right-of-way.
- § 46.2-864 Reckless driving on parking lots, etc.
- § 46.2-865 Racing; penalty.
Classification and Penalties
Virginia Code § 46.2-868 dictates that reckless driving is a class 1 misdemeanor and it carries extremely serious consequences. In Virginia, a Class 1 misdemeanor is the most serious category of misdemeanors and falls just one step short of a felony. As a misdemeanor, it a maximum $2500 fine, one year in jail, and 6 month license suspension. A conviction means other consequences are likely. Consequences (ie: increased insurance premiums, points on your driving record, license suspension and failed criminal background checks) can also be part of your case outcome.
The most common form of reckless driving is excessive speed. Virginia code explains this as:
A person shall be guilty of reckless driving who drives a motor vehicle on the highways in the Commonwealth (i) at a speed of twenty miles per hour or more in excess of the applicable maximum speed limit or (ii) in excess of eighty-five miles per hour regardless of the applicable maximum speed limit.Virginia Code 46.2-862
Reckless driving code section § 46.2-862 is the most frequently used among law enforcement professionals.
Interpreting Virginia Code 46.2-862
It’s important to note, this statute strictly refers to the speed at which you are driving without any regard to your manner of driving. This statute defines reckless driving in two ways. First, it mandates that you can be convicted for traveling 20 or more miles per hour above the speed limit. Secondly, you can be convicted for driving over 85 miles per hour no matter the posted speed limit. The latter section becomes particularly troublesome on highways with 70 mile per hour speed limits. This means that a motorist pulled over for going as little as 16 miles per hour over the speed limit will be charged with a class 1 misdemeanor.
If the charge was unrelated to speed it likely will fall under reckless driving; general rule. This statute allows a police officer to charge you if he believes you were driving in a manner that endangers life or property.
Understanding the implications of Virginia Code 46.2-852:
Irrespective of the maximum speeds permitted by law, any person who drives a vehicle on any highway recklessly or at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person shall be guilty of reckless driving.
Defending Reckless Driving
When representing someone charged with reckless driving, Mattox Law looks for an absolute defense to the case. In every traffic violation, there are technicalities that officers are required to follow for a conviction to be upheld. It’s important to engage an attorney who knows what to ask for and where to look to ensure that all the proper procedures have been followed.
When there is no absolute defense, a reckless driving case will often hinge on what mitigation evidence has been presented. The right evidence can often save the most difficult case.
Many of these proactive solutions can significantly alter the outcome of a case:
Mattox Law has handled hundreds of reckless driving cases has a proven track of obtaining outstanding results for our clients. If you have additional questions about your case, please contact our office today.
I shall be ETERNALLY GRATEFUL for your personal touch and the outstanding representation I received as a client of the Mattox Law Firm. You obtained the BEST possible outcome for me in regards to my Reckless Driving (90/70) charge.
I contacted Mr. Mattox’s office after I received a reckless speeding ticket in Hanover County on my way back to DC (87MPH in a 55MPH zone). After talking to multiple lawyers, Mr. Mattox, while reassuring, was also the most honest in laying out the likely outcomes of the case. Because I already had had two previous speeding tickets, I was facing a license suspension and potentially jail time. But Mr. Mattox and his case manager Stephanie were very professional and laid out multiple steps to follow ahead of my court date to put me in the best position. Because I completed the steps Mr. Mattox laid out, he was able to persuade the judge to drop my Reckless Driving by speed (which is a misdemeanor) to Improper Driving with no license suspension or jail time, only a $350 fine. The judge even said at the very end that the only reason that I was “walking out the front door today” was because my lawyer “made a very convincing argument.” Mr. Mattox did a great job and I plan on recommending him to any of my family or friends who have traffic cases in central Virginia.
Trey and his staff are super professional, and they helped me with every step along the way. I was charged with reckless driving by speed in Mecklenburg County, 95/70. I am from South Carolina and was traveling through, so I had no idea that the penalties were so stiff for speeding in Virginia. I was not able to travel back to Virginia for court, so Mr. Mattox appeared on my behalf and did an exceptional job. Trey was able to get my charge reduced to improper driving, which was a great result in my opinion. He saved me a lot of headache. I was very worried that I would get convicted and have my insurance skyrocket and have a criminal record, but Trey was able to get it reduced! I am super thankful I chose him. I am now able to move on with my life without a criminal record. Thank you again Trey and Stephanie, you guys are the best!
In June 2019, my son was coming back from school in NC and got caught doing 84 in 70 on Rt. 85. He was charged for reckless driving. This ticket worried us because he had two other moving violations in the last year. Mr. Mattox quickly gave us a list of things my son needed to do before the trial date including speedometer calibration check and online course To ease our worries, he told us we did not need to be there in person as we live in DC area. He’s very organized and very responsive throughout the process. Trey took time we needed to talk us through it. Stephanie was great too! Our case outcome was better than expected – reduced to non-moving violation! I’d recommend spending the money to get proper representation, especially when looking at a criminal misdemeanor charge – you don’t want that on your record!
Recently, I got a 92/70 reckless driving ticket in Mecklenburg County. I consulted many attorneys and most of them told me it is impossible to get the reduction down because 92 was too high for the judge to change his mind. I felt hopeless. However, Mr. Mattox showed his confidence and his professionalism, he even answered my endless questions before I hired him. He was patient enough to explain the solution of my case to me, and I ended up with 79/70 speeding! I really appreciate Mr. Mattox and his office manager, Ms. Mosson’s assistance throughout the whole process. Highly recommend this attorney!
I got a reckless driving ticket (85/55) on I-95 on my wedding night. To my surprise in the Commonwealth, that’s a Class 1 misdemeanor. Oh God! I found this out a week before my case. Stephanie informed me of all things to do on my end (speedometer calibration, RADEP class, etc.) and was very helpful in that process. After a few continuances to get myself together, got a better result than what was told to me during initial consultation. DISMISSED! Have trouble, call MATTOX!
Early in the morning on Oct. 5, 2017, I was returning to Maryland from having attended the funeral of my best friend in NC. I had just entered Virginia when I was pulled over and informed that I was clocked driving 12 mph over the speed limit. I was shocked because my Garmin Nuvi indicated I was driving 77-78 mph. I signed the summons and continued on my way. Later that night, I looked at the summons and became extremely unraveled – the summons cited me for Reckless Driving! I did an internet search on reckless driving in Virginia and definitely became “unglued!” I immediately googled Emporia, VA reckless driving attorneys and decided on Trey Mattox. I sent him an email that night citing the facts. The next day I received a reply from him, and it was his assurance and knowledge of the Greensville County court system that assuaged my emotions. I agreed to allow him to represent me and emailed him relevant documents. I received an email from him the day following my court case, and he had gotten my charge reduced to faulty equipment! Reckless Driving is as serious an offense as DWI, so I highly recommend anyone facing that charge to hire an attorney — and, Trey Mattox gets my vote!
While traveling through the Commonwealth of Virginia this summer, I was pulled over and ticketed for doing 81 in a 70 MPH zone. At the time the officer was writing the ticket, I didn’t think I was in too much trouble. After all, in my state, doing 11 MPH over the limit doesn’t usually warrant a second look from an officer at a speed trap. However, upon further inspection of my ticket, I learned that I was in much more trouble. Even though I was only going 11 MPH over the posted speed limit, in Virginia, driving over 80 MPH is considered Reckless Driving – an offense serious enough to land jail time, and basically the equivalent of a DUI in most states.
I immediately started searching online for legal representation and, after visiting several lawyer’s websites and bios, came across some positive reviews for Mattox Law. His success rate for my specific case was appealing, and I found his website informative and helpful. That was enough for me to choose Mattox Law to represent me.
The Mattox Law staff were attentive, knowledgeable, and prompt.
Mr. Mattox represented me in court, and successfully negotiated a significantly reduced sentence of Defective Equipment Generally, a non-moving violation with no points and a nominal fine.
I received a ticket for reckless driving in the state of Virginia, doing 85 MPH. Never had a ticket in my life before. Had no idea on how to go about obtaining a lawyer to represent my case. Received letters in the mail from numerous lawyers that were offering their services to take on my case. I chose Mr. Mattox because his letter was simple and to the point. Somehow stood out from the rest. Called and to my surprise spoke directly to him. He explained what options he felt I had and what he felt he could do for my particular case. He is a man of his word and it all played out exactly as he had explained it to me. My charge of reckless driving was lowered, and the amount of the fine was as well. Most importantly to me, there is nothing on my driving record to indicate my careless mistake. Thank you, Mr. Mattox for your help and expertise.
Trey represented my son in a reckless driving charge. He was professional and did not exaggerate what he could do, which gave us more confidence than other lawyers we spoke with before hiring Trey. He was professional, specific, responsive and attentive. He represented us in court which saved us time and money. He got the entire charge dismissed.
Trey represented me in a traffic matter in the Sussex court. He was friendly, efficient, and knowledgeable about the specific judge in my case. He was also very reasonably priced. The attorney who referred me told me representation would cost me 3 times what Trey charged, so I was very pleased with the fee. He took care of my traffic charge without me having to travel down to Virginia, with no points on my license (for a reckless driving charge), and for a very manageable fine. Excellent experience all around.
Richard Davis Mattox is an incredible attorney. He was able to reduce my reckless driving ticket to an acceptable outcome. He is thorough with what is needed and is straight forward with what he believes he can do. I wish I don’t need another attorney again, but if so, I will use hire Richard again without hesitation.
I would highly recommend using Trey Mattox’s services. His staff was incredibly helpful and professional. Working with the Commonwealth’s Attorney and the police officer, Trey was able to get my ticket reduced from reckless to improper driving. Without his help, I don’t think things would have turned out so well. I will definitely use his services in the future!
Trey and his team quickly assessed my case, asked for the documentation that they needed, and did an outstanding job in litigating my case. He expertly leveraged his knowledge of the law and that of the court itself, to get a reckless driving citation reduced to damaged equipment – and with a minimal fine. I would highly recommend him to anyone in need of such services. You really can’t do better than that!