Are You Facing Jail for Virginia Reckless Driving?

If you have a Virginia reckless driving ticket, you’re probably concerned about the possibility of jail time.

Whether you’re actually going to jail depends upon the unique facts of your case, as well as the local judge and prosecutor.

Here are my thoughts on jail for cases in the Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, and Stafford areas.

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Video Transcription: Will I Go to Jail for Reckless Driving in VA?

I’ve transcribed the video for visitors who prefer to read the content.

chances of going to jail for reckless driving in virginia

Hello, I’m Andrew Flusche. Let’s talk about jail time as far as Virginia’s reckless driving is concerned.

Are you going to go to jail, if you just received a reckless driving ticket?

It’s a hard question to answer, generally speaking.

But I can give you some pointers and some advice on how you might be able to get a better answer to that question.

Jail time differs greatly depending upon the local court that your case is pending in. So what we have to look at is the court, the judge, and the prosecutors who are involved in your case.

I’ve seen websites and heard from clients who’ve read websites that say they might be going to jail if they’re charged with going over 90 mph.

While that may be true in some counties and cities in Virginia, it’s simply not the normal rule for the Fredericksburg, Stafford, and Spotsylvania area, where I primarily practice.

This is why it’s super important to talk with a local attorney who regularly does traffic in the court where your case is pending.

Here in the Fredericksburg area, the normal rule of thumb for jail time is not until you reach 100 mph.

As you can see, that’s a big difference. And a lot fewer people are charged with going that fast. Whereas I get a lot of calls from people who are charged with going in the 90s, I get very few calls in the 100 mph range and higher.

And the big reason is that it’s a lot faster speed. Less people are going that fast, and that’s when the judges are really cracking down around here with jail time.

Reckless driving is a misdemeanor offense in Virginia. That means that instead of being just a traffic ticket like speeding, it is actually a crime. So you do have the possibility of jail time.

The maximum punishment for reckless driving is up to 12 months in jail, up to a $2500 fine, and up to 6 months’ loss of your privilege to drive. The judge can do any combination of those three things. And those are just the maximums.

So does anybody ever get 12 months? I’m sure some people have. I’ve never seen anyone get that much time in jail, but I’m sure that punishment has been imposed many times.

Frankly, most reckless driving tickets are not going to end up with jail time. Unless you have one of those more higher speed cases or really egregious facts. Or perhaps a really bad driving record.

Those are all the things that judges look for and prosecutors look for in analyzing whether jail time would be appropriate.

Like I said, in this area, the jail line is typically 100 mph. Now that’s a rule of thumb. It’s not always 100% accurate. We have to look at the facts of your case, your driving, and to see what all may be involved to determine if you may be facing jail.

And finally, we have to know what judge we’re going to have. Sometimes we may have a substitute judge who does things a little differently. Where our rule maybe 100 mph, that substitute judge doesn’t have to follow it.

And even our regular judges here in this area don’t have to follow it. It’s not a written rule. It’s just a kind of practice.

That’s why it’s important to have a local attorney who knows the normal customs and kind of how things are handled.

And is also experienced and able to adapt and know if the judge we may have one day is going to be worse. We might need to do a continuance or change things up a little bit to help you get the best result possible.

So, are you going to jail for a reckless driving ticket? I can’t say on a video like this.

What I can say is to talk with a local attorney who can better answer that question. Don’t just read things on the internet and watch videos.

Actually, talk with an attorney who can get the facts of your case and who knows the local court and can better answer your question.

I can say that a lot of people get very scared about jail time for no reason. It’s good to be concerned about a reckless driving ticket, but don’t let it make you lose sleep.

Talk with an attorney and see what we can do to help you at least avoid jail. And in a lot of cases maybe get the charge reduced to a lesser offense.

Can You Go To Jail for Reckless Driving: Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Reckless Driving?

We’ve talked a lot about your chances of going to jail for reckless driving in Virginia, but we haven’t said what reckless driving is according to Virginia law.

Section 46.2-852 of the Code of Virginia defines it as driving recklessly or at a rate of speed that endangers the life, limb, or property of another person.

Virginia law includes a list of driving behavior that amounts to reckless driving. These acts include:

  • Driving a vehicle that is out of control or has faulty brakes;
  • Passing dangerously on or near the crest of a hill or on a curve;
  • Driving an overloaded vehicle or excessive number of passengers that interferes with safe driving;
  • Passing two or more vehicles abreast going in the same direction;
  • Driving abreast with another vehicle in a lane designated for one vehicle;
  • Passing unlawfully at a railroad crossing;
  • Passing a stopped school bus;
  • Failing to signal, thereby endangering other people;
  • Driving too fast for the highway conditions, irrespective of the speed limit;
  • Failing to yield to stationary vehicles;
  • Exceeding the posted speed limit;
  • Failing to yield the right of way;
  • Driving recklessly in a parking lot; and
  • Racing.

All these infractions are potentially life-threatening. That’s why Virginia’s law enforcement officers aggressively ticket reckless drivers.

Can I Go to Jail for Reckless Driving?

Yes. Any time a person is convicted of a crime, there is the possibility they could go to jail. The maximum jail term is 12 months. However, the judge can give you less than the maximum penalty, even if the judge thinks you should go to jail. The uncertainty is difficult for people to handle at times.

That’s why I always talk to my clients about resolving the case without going to trial. Admitting you were wrong may help you stay out of jail.

You need to remember that you have a right to a trial. So if you maintain your innocence, we can work together to develop a strong trial strategy to win a not-guilty verdict. There may be strong defenses we could use to show a jury that you are innocent of the crimes charged.

How Much Jail Time for Reckless Driving If I’m Charged with a Felony?

Racing is dangerous, even on a track. Racing on the highway endangers everyone. Racing can be a Class 6 felony if you injure someone not involved in the race who suffered a serious bodily injury.

However, you must serve one year in prison and could get as many as 20 years if someone dies. The Commonwealth can also require you to forfeit your vehicle if police seize it because you were racing.

You could also face a Class 6 felony if you drove with a suspended or revoked license and someone dies as a result of your reckless driving. You could spend up to five years in prison or up to one year in jail if you are convicted of a Class 6 felony.

Contact a Reckless Driving Lawyer Today

If you think you’re facing jail time for reckless driving in Virginia, please give me a call at 540.300.2837, or contact me online today.

Getting the chance to hear the details of your case will give me an accurate idea of what you can expect. Don’t hesitate, you’re one phone call away from possibly reduced, or dropped charges.

Andrew Flusche

My name is Andrew Flusche. I am a traffic and misdemeanor defense lawyer in Virginia. I limit my practice to traffic tickets and misdemeanor defense, so I know the ins and outs of these offenses. I literally wrote the book on reckless driving in Virginia which you can get on Amazon here or download for free here. I opened my practice in 2008 after earning my Juris Doctor degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. Since then, I have earned over 600 5-star reviews from happy clients on Google, Yelp, and Facebook. If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor offense in Virginia, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Your initial consultation is always free, and you'll talk directly with me about the details of your case.

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