Fairfax Traffic Lawyer Explains The Difference Between A Speeding Ticket And Reckless Driving
Reckless driving and speeding are two traffic offenses that are often confused with each other. While both can result in penalties such as fines, points on a driver's license, and increased insurance rates, the two charges are distinct and can carry different consequences. It is important to understand the difference between a reckless driving charge and a speeding ticket in Virginia to be prepared to defend against these charges.
Speeding is a common traffic offense that occurs when a driver exceeds the posted speed limit. In Virginia, the speed limit is generally 55 miles per hour on highways and interstates, and 35 miles per hour in residential areas. The Virginia Code §46.2-870 outlines the penalties for speeding, which include a fine and demerit points on the driver's license. The amount of the fine and the number of demerit points assessed depend on how much the driver exceeded the speed limit.
On the other hand, reckless driving is a more serious offense that occurs when a driver operates a vehicle with a "reckless disregard" for the safety of others. Virginia Code § 46.2-852 defines reckless driving as driving at a speed or in a manner that endangers life, limb, or property. Reckless driving can also include driving too fast for road conditions, passing a school bus that is loading or unloading passengers, or engaging in other dangerous driving behavior.
Reckless driving is considered a Class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia, which is the most serious type of misdemeanor. The penalties for reckless driving include a fine of up to $2,500, a jail sentence of up to 12 months, and the suspension or revocation of the driver's license. Reckless driving also results in 6 demerit points being added to the driver's record. In addition, a reckless driving conviction will remain on a driver's record for 11 years in Virginia, which can have significant long-term consequences.
Under Virginia Law, speeding in a motor vehicle can result in a reckless driving charge under Virginia Code § 46.2-868 if your:
- Exceeds the posted limit by 20 miles per hour or more
- Your speed is 85 miles per hour or more
There are also a number of other ways to be charged for Reckless Driving such as, but not limited to:
- Losing control of your vehicle
- Driving while your windshields obstructed
- Passing two vehicles abreast
- Passing a stopped school bus
- Failing to give proper signals
- Driving to fast for highway and traffic conditions
- Aggressive driving
In contrast, a speeding ticket is considered a lesser offense, and typically carries lesser penalties. Depending on the circumstances, the fines for speeding in Virginia can range up to $250 ( or $500 in the case of improper driving), and demerit points can range from 3 to 6.
If you have been charged with either reckless driving or speeding, it is important to consult with an experienced traffic defense attorney. Your attorney can help you understand the charges against you and develop a strategy to minimize the impact of the charges on your driving record and your life. With the help of a skilled criminal traffic attorney, you may be able to negotiate a plea bargain, challenge the charges in court, or have the charges dismissed altogether.
In conclusion, while reckless driving and speeding are both traffic offenses in Virginia, they are distinct charges that carry different consequences. Speeding is typically a lesser offense that carries smaller fines and fewer demerit points, while reckless driving is a more serious charge that can result in fines, jail time, and the suspension or revocation of the driver's license. If you are facing either of these charges, it is important to consult with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney who can help you navigate the legal system and protect your rights. Call Mr. Tyler Bezilla today for a free consultation.