What is the Main Difference Between Speeding and Reckless Driving in Virginia?

What is the Main Difference Between Speeding and Reckless Driving in Virginia?
Categorized: Traffic Defense

In Virginia, speeding is considered to be a traffic infraction and, as such, does not have the potential to carry jail time. The maximum fine of $250 is applicable in most circumstances. In the case of a speeding ticket, the conviction will be removed after a period of time has sufficiently passed.

Conversely, reckless driving is considered to be a Class 1 misdemeanor and carries with it the potential of up to 12 months of jail time. Because this is a criminal charge, the conviction will remain on an individual’s permanent record.

How Far Over the Speed Limit Can You Go Before It Is Considered Reckless Driving in Virginia?

In Virginia, you will be charged with reckless driving if you are caught speeding at more than 20 mph over the posted speed limit. In addition, you will also be charged with reckless driving if you are caught driving in excess of 85  miles per hour, regardless of the posted speed limit.

Do You Have to Go to Court in Virginia for Reckless Driving?

If you receive a ticket for reckless driving in Virginia, it is mandatory that you appear in court as this is considered to be a misdemeanor charge. Tickets issued for reckless driving in Virginia have a box underneath the signature line that reads, “You may avoid coming to court only if this box is checked and all instructions defendant’s copy is followed.” In most reckless driving cases, this box will NOT be checked. Because this charge constitutes a misdemeanor, you are not allowed to pay the ticket and be done with it. Nonetheless, it is often possible to have an attorney appear in court on your behalf. It should be understood that this is largely dependent on the specifics of the case and the local court.

If you have been charged with reckless driving in Virginia, it is strongly recommended that you speak with an attorney. An attorney can advise you of your legal rights and any options that you may have regarding appearing in court.

What is the Punishment for Reckless Driving in Virginia?

As in all legal cases, penalties for infractions may vary based on the circumstances and the driver’s prior driving history. Some of the possible penalties include the following:


Since reckless driving is classified as a Class 1 misdemeanor, an individual could face the possibility of a $250 fine. Of course, individual circumstances will vary with each case, and it is up to the court to decide what the fine will be.

Suspended License

In some cases, the judge may be inclined to suspend an individual’s driver’s license. This is especially true if the driver was going twice the legal speed limit. Drivers with a CDL license should be mindful of the fact that their license could be suspended as well, greatly impeding their ability to make a living.


Generally, jail time is not a penalty that is imposed for reckless driving. Nevertheless, if caught speeding at more than 95 to 100 mph, jail time could be a realistic possibility.

Driving and Criminal Record

If convicted of reckless driving in Virginia, drivers will be assessed 6 demerit points on their record. This conviction will stay on their driving record for 11 years. Furthermore, after being found guilty of reckless driving, the conviction will remain on the driver’s permanent record. In Virginia, this conviction cannot be expunged from an individual’s record.

If you have been charged with reckless driving and are concerned about a possible conviction or even jail time, you need to speak with one of our law firm’s experienced traffic attorneys. We can answer all of your questions and work hard to obtain an outcome that is favorable to you. Contact us to schedule an appointment. We look forward to assisting you with your case.

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With an office near Town Center, Virginia Beach and a second location beside the Chesapeake courthouse, our team provides quality legal representation across the entire Hampton Roads Area.

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