I was charged with Reckless Driving. If convicted, will I have a criminal record?

I was charged with Reckless Driving. If convicted, will I have a criminal record?

Does a Reckless Driving conviction go on my Criminal Record?

I wrote this article because I am getting sick of attorneys trying to scare people about Reckless Driving and criminal records.

Some attorneys who are ignorant on the law (and maybe some who are trying to scare people into hiring them) will say, “You better hire me because if you get convicted of Reckless Driving, it is a crime, and you will have a criminal record.”   This statement is not correct.  As Chairman of the House Courts of Justice Committee, I have confirmed the following with the people who operate the Virginia Criminal Record Exchange.

While a Reckless Driving in VA is, in fact, a Class 1 Misdemeanor (the same level of crime as a DUI, Assault & Battery, Shoplifting <$200), it does NOT go on your criminal record.  I don’t know for sure why this is.  My guess is that a Reckless is not a crime in most other states.  So Virginia does not want to give people a “criminal record” for something they did in Virginia that would not be a crime elsewhere.

So if you are charged with a Reckless Driving, say for speeding 20+mph over the limit, if you are convicted, the Court documents will say “Guilty – Reckless Driving”, but it will not be on your Criminal Record.  But there are exceptions.  In order for an offense to show up on someone’s criminal record, they would have to be fingerprinted.  So if you get stopped for Reckless, say 20 mph over the speed limit, and get ticketed, the offense should not show up on your criminal record.  If however, you got stopped for DUI and were arrested and finger printed, and your very good attorney got the charge reduced to Reckless Driving, then it would appear on your criminal record, but it would probably show no disposition for the DUI.  Instead, it would show that the charge was reduced to Reckless Driving.  So, in summary, for the most part, if you were arrested and fingerprinted, the Reckless will be on your criminal record. If you were never printed, then it will most likely not appear on your criminal record.

However, be aware.  If you have been convicted of a Reckless Driving  and are ever asked on a job application or in a security clearance interview, “Have you ever been convicted of a crime.”  You would have to state, “Technically Yes.  I was convicted of Reckless Driving, which in VA is a Class 1 Misdemeanor.”