Chesapeake Reckless Driving Lawyer

Reckless driving is defined as an individual driving their vehicle on any roadway recklessly or at a speed or in other manner which can endanger the life, limb, or property of another individual with a blatant disregard of the posted speed limit.

Unfortunately, there may be legal implications associated with traffic tickets that you may not be aware of when you receive a ticket. A knowledgeable traffic attorney can explain these implications. One that is particularly confusing to understand is reckless driving. A reckless driving charge can have long-lasting consequences as it is considered to be a Class 1 misdemeanor and, as such, stays on your permanent criminal record. In addition, many employers conduct background checks that inquire into your criminal conviction record. It should be understood that if a job application asks whether or not you have had a criminal conviction or were found guilty of reckless driving, you must answer yes to this question. A Chesapeake reckless driving lawyer can help you fight any charges.

Reckless Driving Penalties

One of the potential consequences that surrounds reckless driving in Virginia is that it carries with it a possible maximum fine of up to $2,500 and/or up to 12 months in jail.

Unlike other traffic offenses such as parking tickets and some speeding tickets, if you are convicted of reckless driving, it will stay on your driving record for 11 years and is permanently on your criminal record as it is considered to be a misdemeanor crime. This can have serious future implications for you, especially if you drive for a living, such as a truck driver who holds a commercial driver’s license (CDL), or if you must have a security clearance for your employment.

Reckless driving penalties include the following:

Suspended License

If you are found guilty of reckless driving, the court could make the decision to suspend your driver’s license. This is an even greater possibility if you are found guilty of going twice the legal speed limit. Additionally, drivers who hold a commercial driver’s license should be conscious of the fact that their license could potentially be suspended and thus making it difficult for them to earn a living.


In most cases, jail time is not a consideration in a reckless driving case. If you are caught driving speeds that exceed 95 to 100 miles per hour, the court could order that you spend time in jail. This is even more applicable if you were found to be going more than twice as fast as the posted speed limit. Many judges view this as an opportunity to, in essence, teach a person a lesson. This is especially true in cases where the reckless driving charge originated from street racing.

The good news is that you can only spend time in jail if you have been found guilty of the offense. An experienced lawyer in Virginia can fight your reckless driving charges, and you might end up being declared not guilty, or at least have the charge reduced to a minor traffic infraction which never comes with jail (or a license suspension). Hiring anattorney to fight a reckless driving charge is definitely in your best interest. Not only is this particular charge considered to be a misdemeanor crime it comes with the possibility of having to pay a $250 fine as well.

If you have a prior history of improper driving and depending on exactly how fast you were found to be going over the speed limit, the judge also overseeing your case may consider sending you to jail. Frequently, the court will send individuals to jail in an effort to reduce these types of traffic offenses. Because reckless or improper driving cases involve such high rates of speed, there is a strong likelihood of serious injury or even death. A judge may feel like you need to spend time in jail to teach you a lesson to not speed in the future. Judges also take into account your actions at the time you interacted with law enforcement officials and whether or not you were rude and combative or cooperative.

Different Types of Reckless Driving Charges?


If you are caught driving more than 20 miles per hour over the speed limit or in excess of 85 miles per hour, regardless of the speed limit, you stand a chance of being convicted for reckless driving.

A ticket for a reckless driving traffic violation is unable to be paid ahead of time. 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 have a box underneath the signature line that reads “You may avoid coming to court only if this box is checked and all instructions on the defendant’s copy are followed.” In most reckless driving cases, this box will not be checked.

One of the first things that you need to do after receiving your ticket is to determine the purpose of the court date that was written on your traffic citation. Normally, there are two options available. There may be a date given that is for the purpose of a first appearance or that is your trial date.

Understanding the purpose of your court date is not always simple. At times, the officer will inform you if the date is for that first appearance or trial when they issue you the ticket. However, often drivers who have been charged with reckless driving have no understanding of the purpose of the date. In general, if the date specified on the ticket is set for one to two weeks from the date the ticket was issued, then this is most likely for the first appearance. If the date indicated regarding your court appearance is more than a month away, then it is, in all probability, a trial date. In order to be sure as to the intention of the court date, you may either contact the clerk’s office in the county or city where you received the ticket or one of our qualified attorneys.

Based on the jurisdiction in which the reckless driving offense was committed, you may be required to appear in court, or depending on the rules that govern that particular location, an attorney may be able to appear on your behalf. If you do not appear or have a legal representative to appear for you when acceptable, a warrant will be issued for your arrest. In order to be certain as to whether you can be represented and not have to appear in court yourself, contact one of our reckless driving lawyers who can easily find out what the rules are in your location.

Potential factors that may change the outcome of your cases may include your driving record, whether your speedometer was calibrated correctly, and exactly how fast over the speed limit you were actually driving.

Failure to Maintain Control or Faulty Brakes

A driver that does not maintain proper control, has improperly adjusted brakes, or brakes deemed to be deficient due to inadequacies and drives on any roadway is guilty of reckless driving per Virginia law.

Other Types of Reckless Driving:

Virginia recognizes 11 other types of less common reckless driving charges:

  • Passing when the view is obstructed- This occurs when a vehicle overtakes or passes another vehicle either on or approaching the crest of a grade or a curve when the driver’s view is obstructed.
  • Passing Two Vehicles Abreast-When a driver attempts to or passes two other vehicles abreast (side by side and facing in the same direction) except on highways having three or more lanes for travel in one direction or on one-way streets or highways.
  • Passing a stopped school bus.
  • Passing at an intersection or railroad grade crossing.
  • Driving too fast for traffic conditions.
  • Failing to give proper signals.
  • Failure to yield the right of way.
  • Racing

A lawyer in Chesapeake could help a person facing any kind of reckless driving charge.

What Type of Defense Can Be Used to Fight Reckless Driving Charges?

In order to determine what type of defense is best for your particular case, it is important to understand what type of reckless driving you have been charged with.

General Reckless Driving

In order to be convicted of general reckless driving, Virginia law states that it must be proven the defendant was:

  • Driving the vehicle- It is necessary for the Commonwealth to prove that you were actually the individual driving the vehicle. Of course, in most situations, this is not difficult to prove. However, it can be made more difficult if the defendant was involved in a single-vehicle accident and there were no witnesses.
  • On any highway- This can be a very complex issue in regard to reckless driving as the definition of a highway is determined to mean the “entire width between the boundary lines of every way or place open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel,” in actuality any public road. This is best discussed with your attorney as they have the qualifications to explore if it could be relevant to your case.
  • Reckless driving so as to endanger life, limb, or property of any person- Virginia courts must prove this portion of the charges beyond a reasonable doubt. When an officer investigates an accident they may make a determination as to how the accident occurred and then give testimony based on his observations and evidence. Even if an accident occurs, it does not mean that the defendant was driving recklessly and should be charged with a crime. It is vital to remember that other evidence may be used against you, such as any statements that you may have made to the officer at the time of the accident.

Reckless Driving Based on Speed

  • In order to prove a reckless driving charge based on the speed you may have been going, Virginia courts must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was driving a motor vehicle on the highway. Added to this, the speed must have been twenty miles per hour or more over the posted speed limit or in excess of 85 miles per hour regardless of the maximum allowable speed limit.

Improper Driving

  • Often in cases such as these, an attorney will work to get your criminal charge of reckless driving reduced to improper driving. Improper driving is considered to be a traffic infraction and not a criminal charge. As a result, the repercussions and penalties are not as severe in nature. Whereas reckless driving is six demerit points, improper driving is only three demerit points on your license.

One additional benefit of having a reckless driving charge reduced to that of improper driving is that it will only remain on your driving record for three years. A reckless driving charge will remain for 11 years. In Virginia, this conviction cannot be expunged from an individual’s record. It is interesting to note that law enforcement officers do not have the legal authority to write a citation for improper driving. Depending on your particular jurisdiction before your trial begins the officer or prosecutor may agree to reduce your charge to that of improper driving. The judge overseeing your case also has the legal authority to find you guilty of improper driving. A lawyer in Chesapeake could work to build a defense for any reckless driving charge.

Contact a Chesapeake Reckless Driving Attorney Today

When you are facing a reckless driving charge, it is imperative that you speak with an experienced Chesapeake reckless driving lawyer as soon as possible. Trying to fight the charges on your own can make matters worse. You also need to note that it is very possible you will end up with a permanent criminal record when convicted, even if you avoid time in jail. You do not want to find yourself in such a situation.

We understand that people can make mistakes that can lead to unforeseen criminal charges. We strive to treat you, the individual, with care and compassion. There are many possible options available to our clients in reckless driving cases such as working to have the ticket dismissed, challenging the testimony of law enforcement, and other legal alternatives that a knowledgeable attorney can explain as they work hard to build your defense. Contact our office today and schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers. We look forward to assisting you with your legal case.

Areas We Serve

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.

  • Virginia Beach
  • Hampton
  • Chesapeake
  • Newport News
  • Norfolk
  • Yorktown
  • Portsmouth
  • Accomack County
  • Suffolk
  • Northampton County

Parks Zeigler, PLLC – Attorneys At Law

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