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Why drivers shouldn’t just ignore reckless driving charges

On Behalf of | Apr 4, 2023 | Criminal defense

Many motorists in Virginia are surprisingly passive about traffic violations. Even those who insist that they didn’t actually break traffic laws will often enter a guilty plea. Instead of trying to defend themselves after a traffic stop leads to a ticket, they often simply pay their citations and accept the consequences, even when they firmly believe that an officer misinterpreted the situation. Paying a ticket means accepting the cost of the fine and also the points potentially associated with that traffic infraction. Many tickets result in secondary costs by increasing how much a motorist will pay for insurance for years to come.

Reckless driving is one of the few traffic violations that people will actively consider defending against. Why are people eager to fight back against allegations of reckless driving, at least when compared with many other traffic offenses?

Reckless driving is a crime, not a simple traffic violation

When a police officer accuses someone of reckless driving, they may arrest that person in some cases. Reckless driving is a misdemeanor offense, rather than just a moving violation. In fact, it is a Class One misdemeanor.

Therefore, it carries criminal penalties rather than just a fine. Claims of reckless driving can lead to up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine. A judge can also suspend someone’s license for six months for a first reckless driving infraction. The offense will add six points to someone’s driving record and also lead to a lifetime criminal record that will show up whenever the defendant applies for a new apartment or job.

Reckless driving is somewhat subjective

Virginia defines reckless driving as operating a motor vehicle in a manner that displays disregard for the safety of others. What seems like reckless driving to some people may be completely justified upon a closer review of the situation.

Those who have been accused of reckless driving may want to present a defense both to avoid a criminal record and to keep their insurance costs reasonable. Seeking legal guidance and adequately responding to traffic infractions are usually necessary efforts for those who have been accused of serious traffic offenses like reckless driving, if they want to retain their driving privileges and avoid potentially massive secondary expenses.