New Reckless Driving Speeding Law in Virginia – Effective July 1, 2020
Reckless Driving in Virginia is a Crime. It is a Class 1 Misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail, up to a $2500 fine and loss of license for up to 6 months. As other articles on my site point out, many other lawyers on the internet try to scare people into thinking that they are going to go to jail. But any responsible and experienced Reckless Driving Lawyer Fairfax County will tell you, unless you are driving extremely fast (e.g. > 35 mph over the limit) or have a bad driving record, that jail is unlikely. Consult those other articles on my site.
This article is about a new law. The previous law for Reckless Speeding in Virginia states that a person is guilty of Reckless Driving if he drives at 20 mph or more over the speed limit OR any time he is going over 80 mph. This 80 mph threshold became controversial when the speed limit on some sections of the interstates in Virginia went to 70 mph. That would mean that someone going 81 mph – just 11 mph over the speed limit – could be convicted of the crime of Reckless Driving! When I was in the legislature, I voted against raising the speed limit to 70 for this very reason. My position was that we should not raise the limit to 70 without raising the 80 mph Reckless provision to 85 mph. Now that I have retired from the legislature and am now a Reckless Driving Lawyer Fairfax County, I no longer have a vote in the General Assembly. But I am pleased to report that the 80 mph threshold is raised to 85 on July 1, 2020. So, the new law will be that Reckless Driving by Speed is for any speed greater than 20 mph OR greater than 85 mph. But, for speeds of 81 mph – 85 mph there is an enhanced minimum fine of $100.
Reckless Driving charges are very common in Virginia. And about 15 years ago, Judges started taking high speed Reckless cases more seriously. In Fairfax, the Judges started saying in Court that more people were killed in Virginia by defendants driving at high speeds than were killed by drunk drivers. Soon thereafter, they started using an unwritten “rule of thumb” an sentenced people to one day in jail for every mph > 90 mph (when in a 55 mph zone). So, it seemed that any time people were driving faster than 35mph over the limit, Judges were issuing one day in jail for every mph > 35 mph over the limit. By example, a person driving 95 in a 55 mph zone (which is 40 mph over the limit) judges were giving 5 days in jail.
If you are charged with Reckless Driving, you should consult a Reckless Driving Lawyer Fairfax County. As stated in other articles on this site, in Fairfax County and numerous other jurisdictions, Prosecutors will not speak with Defendants. They only speak with attorneys. Thus, your ability to get your Reckless Driving charge reduced to regular Speeding cannot be done prior to going before the Judge unless you have an attorney. Here is an example of how and attorney can help. If you have a Reckless Driving charge of 86 in a 70 mph zone, an attorney can often get the Prosecutor to agree prior to court (usually on the same day just prior to your case being called) to amend the charge to regular Speeding by striking “86” on the Summons and inserting “85 mph.” Under this new law, that one mph makes a big difference. 86 mph is the crime of Reckless and -6 DMV demerit points. “85” is not a crime. It is a Traffic Infraction. And 85 in a 70 mph zone is -4 DMV demerit point. So not only did your Reckless Driving Lawyer Fairfax get you out of a crime and kept you from possibly losing your license, he also got you a mere Traffic Infraction, no license suspension and likely just a minor fine. (Note: Traffic Infraction fines can be no greater than $250.)
For more information about law changes, contact the office of Dave Albo – Attorney today.