How a Reckless Driving Charge on Your Record Can Affect Your Future

how reckless driving charge can affect your futureHaving a driver’s license is essential to living our daily lives.

Almost everything we do revolves around our ability to get around efficiently. However, we are so accustomed to driving that we can forget that driving is a privilege and not a right.

A reckless driving charge can severely impact your life. A reckless driving offense is more than just a ticket: it is a criminal offense.

As Virginia reckless driving defense attorneys, we fight to protect you from the harsh consequences of a reckless driving conviction.

What Is Reckless Driving in Virginia?

Reckless driving entails driving in a manner or at a speed that endangers the life, limbs, or property of another.

That’s the general rule. Virginia’s reckless driving laws define other behavior as reckless driving as well.

Some instances of reckless driving include:

  • Driving a car while not in control or with faulty brakes,
  • Passing at the top of a hill or on a curve,
  • Driving while having an obstructed view of the road,
  • Failing to signal,
  • Passing a stopped school bus,
  • Racing,
  • Failing to yield, and
  • Driving too fast for the road conditions.

Even speeding may be considered reckless driving if you are going over 85 mph—or if you are traveling at 20 miles per hour over the speed limit.

Negative Consequences of a Reckless Driving Charge


Losing your freedom is the most serious consequence of a reckless driving charge. Reckless driving is a Class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia.

The maximum penalty is confinement to the county jail for no longer than 12 months. There is a fine of up to $2,500, with a minimum required fine of $250 if you used a cell phone while driving recklessly.

Demerit Points on Your License

There are other consequences of reckless driving as well. A conviction adds points to your driving record.

The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) keeps track of traffic violations and assigns demerit points to each offense. Demerit points can add up quickly.

You should note that the DMV’s demerit point system is different from your insurance company’s point system.

Regardless, each traffic offense, especially one as severe as a reckless driving charge, can hurt you and your family in the long run.

Reckless driving is a six-point offense, according to the DMV. Other serious traffic crimes like DUI and leaving the scene of a crash are also six-point offenses. That tells you how seriously the DMV treats reckless driving.

Virginia’s DMV keeps track of the points assessed against you and has the authority to sanction you for poor driving.

The DMV uses a graduated punishment system. If you are 18 or older and accumulate 8 demerit points in 12 months or 12 points in 24 months, you have to attend a driver improvement course. You have 90 days to complete the course successfully.

The punishments increase as you accumulate more points. Acquiring 18 demerit points in 12 months or 24 points in 24 months leads to a 90-day license suspension.

You have to complete the driver improvement clinic successfully, and the DMV will put you on driving probation for six months.

How Long Do Reckless Driving Offenses Stay on Your Record?

A reckless driving conviction stays on your driving record for 11 years. It goes away after that. In fact, the Virginia DMV will let you earn good points for every year you do not have a moving violation.

Lowering the number of points on your driving record could benefit you significantly. For instance, your prospective employer will look at your driving history if you apply for a job that requires driving.

Earning safe points could help you obtain the job you’re looking for by reducing or eliminating demerit points from your driving history.

Your criminal history is different. Criminal charges don’t go away after a set amount of time passes. A reckless driving conviction will remain on your record permanently.

Having a criminal record has profound implications. It could affect your current or future employment. A potential employer who checks your criminal record will see a reckless driving conviction.

Additionally, if you are ever charged with a crime again, having a previous criminal record usually increases the severity of your penalty.

Judges rarely cut breaks to people who have previous criminal convictions and are now looking at another.

How Will Virginia Reckless Driving Affect Your Law School Application?

Reckless driving in Virginia is a Class 1 Misdemeanor. That means that even by simply getting the reckless driving ticket that you are currently facing, you may have to report that on your actual application, and can certainly, if they ask about criminal convictions, you would need to report a conviction for reckless driving on your application.

If your law school application simply asks about criminal convictions, and we can have your reckless driving charge amended to something like speeding or dismissed completely, then you would not need to report that charge on the law school application.

However, if the application asks about any criminal charges, and you have been charged of reckless driving even if the charge was actually later dismissed, you would still have to report that as a charge on your application, because you were in fact accused of the crime of reckless driving.

As you can see, getting in front of this situation is very smart, so you can try to minimize the damage at the very least, and try to minimize the reporting requirements that you might have on your law school application. If this is a situation that you find yourself in, definitely contact me today so we can discuss your options at how I can help.

Video: How Will A Reckless Driving Charge Affect Your Security Clearance?

Will Reckless Driving Charge Affect Your Security Clearance?

Many of my reckless driving defense clients maintain active security clearances. In the Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Stafford area, lots of folks either work for the government or a federal contractor. And of course, lots of people from the DC area receive reckless driving tickets while passing through our area on I-95.

One major concern people have is: what will a reckless driving charge due to a security clearance?

It’s a good question, and unfortunately, one that nobody has a crystal clear answer to.

From my understanding, any misdemeanor conviction can raise red flags during a clearance investigation. Since reckless driving is a misdemeanor, it stands to reason that a reckless driving conviction could be a hurdle for a security clearance.

However, I’ve also heard that a single traffic misdemeanor conviction won’t kill a security clearance. But more than that could indicate a judgment problem. I suppose the theory is that if you incur multiple serious traffic convictions, you might be a risky person by nature.

In my opinion, if you have a security clearance, it makes sense to do everything possible to protect it. One reckless driving conviction might not hurt your clearance.

But if you don’t fight this one and you get convicted, a future reckless ticket could be an issue for your clearance. And having prior reckless driving on your record makes future tickets harder to fight.

With all that said, the best way to find out what effect a reckless ticket might have would be to consult with your clearance officer. They surely know best.

Get the Help You Need: Call Today

As you can see, there is more at stake than just paying a traffic ticket. What can you do to keep this criminal charge off of your record?

If you’ve been charged with reckless driving, Virginia defense Attorney Andrew Flusche can help.

My partner, Ryan Fitzgerald, and I are seasoned defense attorneys, and we dedicate my practice to representing people charged with driving offenses, misdemeanors, and more serious felonies.

Focusing on only those areas helps us focus my skills in one area and better learn how to fix people’s problems.

We work hard in court every day to get our clients out of trouble while helping them to keep their driving privileges intact.

If you want to know more, call Andrew Flusche, Attorney at Law, PLC, at 540-642-1667. My staff will gladly schedule an appointment when it’s convenient for you and fits your busy schedule.

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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