Mar 29, 2020 Reckless driving threshold raised to 85 mph reports Fairfax criminal lawyer
Reckless driving in Virginia is categorized at the most serious misdemeanor level, reminds Fairfax criminal lawyer
Reckless driving in Virginia is a jailable offense, classified as a Class 1 misdemeanor, carrying up to one year of incarceration, a fine of up to $2,500, court costs, and suspended driving running from zero days to six months (with the ability to apply for restricted driving privileges). As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I know that a reckless driving conviction in the commonwealth is available for driving at least twenty miles an hour over the speed limit, eighty miles and hour or higher, recklessly, or at a speed or in a manner “so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person.” Va. Code §§ 46.2-862 & 46.2-852.
Reckless driving 80 mile per hour threshold to rise to 85 on July 1, 2020
Virginia’s governor on March 25, 2020, approved a legislature-passed bill that raises the above-referenced 80 mile an hour reckless driving threshold to 85 miles an hour. H.885. That change is major, not only for the areas of the commonwealth where the speed limit is at least 65 miles per hour, but also for arguing to judges not to jail nor impose suspended driving on people caught allegedly driving as fast as 90 miles per hour, because that is only five mile an hour over said 85 mile an hour threshold, and our speedometers at such speeds ordinarily tell us we are traveling two to four miles an hour slower than we are. (This is why I tell my reckless driving clients to get their speedometer calibration checked by a mechanic whose certificate will be admissible in court; and I advise attending DMV-approved driving school live or online.)
Driving at least 20 miles an hour over the speed limit remains a crime
Virginia’s new reckless driving legislation improves nothing for criminal defendants other than to increase the 80 mile per hour driving threshold to 85 miles per hour. Furthermore, the new legislation makes available an additional $100 fine for speeding convictions of 80 to 85 miles per hour in a 65 mile per hour zone.
Beware going to court without a lawyer for such a charge
Reckless driving and all other jailable Virginia prosecutions merit going to court with a qualified lawyer, as much as a financial imposition that this may be. First, an unrepresented reckless driving defendant does not know whether the particular judge has a tendency to jail people and impose suspended driving even at speeds in the eighties and lower nineties. Second, a lawyer sometimes can obtain an acquittal, dismissal or negotiated traffic infraction offer on such a charge where an unrepresented defendant might be much less able to obtain such a result. Third, at any sentencing, a qualified lawyer is better than defending oneself.
Fairfax criminal lawyer Jonathan L. Katz fights for your best defense against felony, misdemeanor, and DUI prosecution. Call 703-383-1100 to schedule a free in-person consultation with Jon Katz about your court-pending criminal case.