If convicted of Reckless Driving or Driving on a Suspended License, will the charge appear on my criminal record?
Many lawyers on the internet try and make people freak out by claiming that if they don’t get off the Reckless Driving charge or Driving on a Suspended charge, they will have a criminal record! Don’t believe everything you read on the internet. Contact a trusted Reckless Driving Attorney Fairfax County, VA trusts to get an accurate answer.
I have been practicing law in Virginia for 30 years and for 24 years I wrote the law as a Member of the Virginia House of Delegates. While I was Chairman of the House Courts of Justice Committee, the issue of whether Reckless or other non-DUI related traffic crimes (e.g. Driving on Suspended) create a “Criminal Record,” came up many times. It also comes up almost daily when I am in Court with clients charged with Reckless Driving in Fairfax County, Alexandria City, Arlington County, Prince William County and Loudoun County. As of the time I am writing this, July 2018, here is the answer to whether a conviction of Reckless Driving or Driving on a Suspended License goes on a Criminal Record:
In Virginia, DUI and Reckless Driving are both Class 1 Misdemeanors. Driving on a Suspended License is a Class 2 Misdemeanor. DUI convictions get reported the State and National Criminal Record. (a.k.a. the Computer Criminal Records Exchange “CCRE”) But not all Misdemeanors are reported. From my experience and research as both a Virginia Legislator and as a Reckless Driving Attorney, in Fairfax VA, I found the following:
The Code of Federal Regulations Title 28 – Judicial Administration. CHAPTER I – DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. PART 20 – CRIMINAL JUSTICE INFORMATION SYSTEMS. Subpart C – Federal Systems and Exchange of Criminal History Record Information, states:
- 20.32Includable offenses.(a) Criminal history record information maintained in the III System and the FIRS shall include serious and/or significant adult and juvenile offenses.(b) The FIRS excludes arrests and court actions concerning nonserious offenses, e.g., drunkenness, vagrancy, disturbing the peace, curfew violation, loitering, false fire alarm, non-specific charges of suspicion or investigation, and traffic violations (except data will be included on arrests for vehicular manslaughter, driving under the influence of drugs or liquor, and hit and run), when unaccompanied by a § 20.32(a) offense. These exclusions may not be applicable to criminal history records maintained in state criminal history record repositories, including those states participating in the NFF.(c) The exclusions enumerated above shall not apply to federal manual criminal history record information collected, maintained, and compiled by the FBI prior to the effective date of this subpart.
What does all this mean in English? A DUI or Hit and Run Misdemeanor are determined to be “serious” traffic Misdemeanors, and as such, they are reported by the Courts to the State Police and then by the State Police to the FBI to be included in the CCRE. Reckless Driving and Driving on Suspended are considered “non-serious” and they are NOT reported to the CCRE.
But as every experienced Fairfax, VA Reckless Driving Attorney knows, there are always exceptions. IF a person already has a criminal record (was convicted of a reportable offense in the past) and gets a Reckless Driving, Driving on Suspended, or other “non-serious” Misdemeanor and receives jail time, then it will be reported.
The short answer is, if you have a clean Criminal Record and get convicted of Reckless, Driving on Suspended or other Misdemeanor considered “nonserious”, you will not get a Criminal Record.
The next question I often get, as a Fairfax, VA reckless driving attorney, is, “If I am convicted of Reckless Driving and it goes on my Criminal Record, can I say, I have never been convicted of a crime?” I get this question because many of my clients have Security Clearances or are in regulated professions (e.g. doctor, lawyer, stock broker, realtor, etc.) The answer is, “Tell the truth.” If you were convicted of Reckless Driving, even though it is not on your Criminal Record, you did get convicted of a crime. So if you are not in a regulated profession, maybe it is not worth hiring a lawyer for a Reckless Driving (that is if you are willing to accept the punishments of possible jail, license suspension and fine.) But if you are in a regulated profession, you should contact the regulators to see what the consequences of a conviction are. And if the consequence will hinder your career, then it will be worth the money to hire an experienced Driving on a Suspended License or Reckless Driving Attorney Fairfax, VA relies on, today.