Big Change in Reckless Driving by Speed in Virginia Effective July 1, 2020
The Virginia House of Delegates and Senate passed a new law that increases the speed sufficient for Reckless Driving. The old law stated that anyone driving at 20 mph or more over the speed limit OR driving in excess of 80 mph is guilty of Reckless Driving. Any experienced Reckless Driving Attorney Fairfax County Virginia would tell you that this created a big problem for people driving on interstates where the speed limit is 70 mph. In these areas of the interstate, if you were driving just 11 mph over the limit at 81 mph, you could be convicted of the crime of Reckless Driving!
Thankfully, the Virginia General Assembly finally fixed this problem. A new bill which will be effective July 1, 2020, keeps the 20 mph or more section of the Reckless statute, but changes the 80 mph to 85 mph. In other words, the new law will make any person going 20 mph or more OR any person driving faster than 85 mph guilty of Reckless. You can check it out for yourself in the Virginia Code. Here is the new bill that will appear in the Virginia Code on July 1, 2020. (Note Strikethroughs are deletions of existing law and italics are additions to existing law.) If this does not make sense, just call a Reckless Driving Attorney Fairfax County Virginia, and he/she should be able to answer your questions.
§ 46.2-862. Exceeding speed limit.
shall be is guilty of reckless driving who drives a motor vehicle on the highways in the Commonwealth (i) at a speed of twenty 20 miles per hour or more in excess of the applicable maximum speed limit or (ii) in excess of eighty 85 miles per hour regardless of the applicable maximum speed limit.
§ 46.2-878.3. Prepayment of fines for violations of speed limits.
Except as otherwise provided in this section, the Traffic Infractions and Uniform Fine Schedule adopted by the Supreme Court for prepayment of fines shall, in all instances where prepayment of a fine is permitted, include a fine of $6 per mile-per-hour in excess of posted speed limits provided for in this article. However, such Traffic Infractions and Uniform Fine Schedule shall include a fine of $7 per mile-per-hour in excess of posted speed limits for a violation of §§ 46.2-873 and 46.2-878.1 and $8 per mile-per-hour in excess of posted speed limits for a violation of § 46.2-878.2. Any person who drives a motor vehicle at a speed in excess of 80 miles per hour but below 86 miles per hour on any highway in the Commonwealth having a maximum speed limit of 65 miles per hour shall be subject to an additional fine of $100.
An experienced Reckless Driving Attorney Fairfax County Virginia can explain to you how this statute applies in real life. In short, a lawyer can be helpful in getting a Reckless Driving charge reduced to a Traffic Infraction of Speeding. Why do you need a lawyer? There is no law that says you have to have one. But in most jurisdictions, Prosecutors will not talk to defendants. They only talk to lawyers. So, if you want to get a Prosecutor to amend the charge prior to going before the Judge, you need a lawyer. A lawyer can negotiate with the Prosecutor to get your Reckless reduced to Speeding. A Traffic Infraction of Speeding is not a crime. It cannot result in jail nor a license suspension. It has a maximum fine of $250.
So, if you are barely going over the Reckless threshold (e.g. 22 mph over the limit or just 86 in a 70 mph zone) and have a good driving record, you may be able to convince a Judge to lower your charge to Speeding. But if you are driving faster than this, or you have a bad driving record, you should definitely consider hiring a Reckless Driving Attorney Fairfax County Virginia.
For more information about changes in reckless driving law in Virginia, contact Dave Albo – Attorney.