If you’re charged with Virginia reckless driving, you may be wondering if you’re going to get jail time. That varies depending upon the facts of the case and the court where your charge is pending.
Hello, my name is Andrew Flusche. I’m a Virginia traffic attorney. Today I wanted to discuss with you the possibility of jail time when you’re charged with reckless driving.
First of all, very importantly, you need to understand that reckless driving cases vary widely depending on the court, the judge, and the prosecutor involved. In Virginia, reckless driving is a class 1 misdemeanor, which means it can be punished by jail time of up to 12 months. But the important thing to remember is that that’s the maximum amount of penalty possible as far as jail time goes. So the key thing is, in most every reckless driving case that I’ve seen, if you get jail, it would be less than that. Now, the year sentence can be imposed but it’s very rare.
“When could you really be facing jail time?” is the question people are always wanting to know and what I’m about to tell you would really only apply in the areas where I practice. So that would be Fredericksburg City, Spotsylvania County, Stafford County, King George County, and Caroline County. In those areas, typically, you’re not going to be looking at jail time for reckless driving simply by going over 90 miles per hour. That’s a rule that I’ve heard other people talk about (other attorneys and clients) and that’s simply not the case in the courts that I practice in around the Fredericksburg area. Now, I’m not saying that you can’t get jail time, but it’s not usually the default rule of thumb.
Around the Fredericksburg area (Stafford, Spotsylvania County and those areas) typically you would be looking at jail time when you’re charged with 100 miles per hour, or more. That is usually the line for jail time. It’s not official, but it is the rule of thumb that’s typically used. And, in our area, when you’re charged with going 100 mph or over, typically they would be looking to impose perhaps 1 day in jail for every mile over 100mph.
Let’s say you’re charged with 110mph in a 65mph zone on the interstate, the jail time you are at risk of receiving would be 10 days. Again, that’s just a rule of thumb, so you have to understand that it differs widely depending on the case, based on the facts of the case and what happened. If there is a claim that you were intoxicated at the same time as doing 110mph, you might be looking at a whole lot more jail time. Or, if you have a really bad driving record, and you’re charged with 110mph you might be looking at a lot more jail time than just 10 days. Of course, hopefully we can get you less than that. We’ll do the best we can to minimize the kind of sentence you might get. But that’s usually the rule of thumb around here; 100mph is kind of the line for jail time.
Now, that’s all typically when we’re talking about an interstate case, where the speed limit is 65 or 70mph. So if you are charged with going, let’s say, 95mph in a 55mph zone, that’s 40mph over the limit. That could also be looking at jail time. Furthermore, to complicate the matter a little more, in the City of Fredericksburg, depending on what judge you have, you could be looking at jail time at 95mph or even just high 90’s.
But the best rule of thumb that I can tell you is the 90mph mark is not usually automatic jail time, unless it’s a reduced speed zone, like 35 or 45mph. Then, 90mph could mean jail.
If you’re not confused enough, the real important thing for you to do at this point is to talk to an attorney who’s local, who practices in the court where your case is being heard. Because if you talk to someone who is out of Fairfax or Richmond, they might be talking to you about that 90mph rule and that’s simply not the case here. It’s very different and it does depend on the local judge and prosecutor, all the players in the case. So, if you have a case like that and you’re worried about jail time, please call me and we can talk about the specifics of your case.
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