In Virginia, exceeding the state speed limit can quickly land you in jail if you’re caught off-guard. Virginia’s statute around reckless driving also recognizes going twenty miles above the designated speed limit as a punishable offense, placed in the same category as reckless driving. Other than prison-time, a minor offense could get you charged with a misdemeanor if not a felony.
A person shall be guilty of reckless driving who drives a motor vehicle on the highways in the Commonwealth (i) at a speed of 20 miles per hour or more in excess of the applicable maximum speed limit or (ii) in excess of 80 miles per hour regardless of the applicable maximum speed limit.
- 2-862, Exceeding speed limit.
But isn’t that just a speeding ticket with a fancy name?
Reckless driving by speed has an altogether different meaning in Virginia. Newcomers or visitors to the state might be shocked to learn that Virginia is one of the states that criminalizes speeding, and can place it in the same cadre as reckless driving. So while this offense may appear similar to a simple speeding ticket, it cannot be more different as it involves felonies, penalties, and usually calls for legal deliberation such as a trial. Hence, it will in most cases require hiring a versed Virginia Reckless Driving Lawyer to handle the legal mess and prevent excessive charges.
An important fact to note is that many traffic officials may only write ‘RD’ on your ticket, further adding to the confusion; making it difficult to out-right recognize the charge for what it presents. Hence many Virginians are surprised to find a court summons after a casual ride home – all this could be prevented by the right familiarity with what speeding means in Virginia’s Code and legislature.
So what can I really do to protect myself?
After getting into grips with some of the more seemingly frightening aspects of Virginia’s Reckless Driving Laws, the foremost precaution you can take is staying under the speed limit at all times; barring exceptional emergency situation which Virginian Law caters to in some instances.
Another speed limit precaution to take is not exceeding the designated limited by twenty miles. However, this is not to encourage safe-limiting; even if going nineteen miles over a specified limit means a speed more than eighty miles/hour, always remember to keep it under eighty miles in all cases.
Okay, so all in all, how do I respond to getting a ticket?
Finding yourself as an unlucky recipient of any number of these criminal charges, there are a set of steps you must consider taking as a part of your initial and continued response.
Firstly, read and understand the ticket. For this purpose, you may look up at the Law Section to see precisely what you’re charged with. If required, seek legal counsel on evaluating the charges leveled.
Another way to understand the severity of the charges is to call a local traffic lawyer who is versed in Virginia’s reckless driving laws.
It’s also critical to know that in Virginia if you’re convicted for an offense, you can’t pay it away out of your records – so always be sure to keep in mind that paying your way could entail a permanently scarred driving and legal record.
What are the provisions for Emergency Situations?
Emergency situations which legitimately call for increasing the vehicle speed are understood as a plausible justification for speeding. Aside from emergency situations, Virginian Law and Traffic Law Enforcement agencies also take into consideration:
- A good driving record,
- Incorrectly recorded speedometer reading,
- Radar Calibration problems.
These can help you drive your way out of tense situations with the law.