Is my Ticket Reckless Driving or Speeding?

VA Uniform Summons

In Virginia, if you receive a Virginia Uniform Summons for speed, you may be confused about whether or not you’re charged with simple speeding or reckless driving by speed. This is not an uncommon issue. How do you figure out what charge you’re actually facing?

To understand what you’re actually charged with, you need to carefully look at the document you received from the officer. The document you received is what people commonly refer to as a ticket, but the title of it is a Virginia Uniform Summons. That document is typically a yellow piece of paper, although in some areas it’s now a white piece of paper because it’s printed by a little printer in the officer’s vehicle.

When you’re looking at the ticket or the summons, you can look at the upper left area of the ticket to see the actual charge. When you examine your ticket, you’ll see the court you’re supposed to appear in along with the date and time when you’re supposed to be there. Directly below the date and time for the court date, you’ll see a box that says “Law” or “Code” section and there’s a blank. Below that, there are several lines where the officer can write some details about what you’re actually charged with. In area of the summons, it’s kind of the middle of the left side of the summons, and that’s where you can tell if you’re charged with reckless driving by speed or just simple speeding.

If you’re charged with reckless driving by speed, you need to look in that area of the summons for the numbers “46.2-862.” That is the reckless driving by speed code section. The other thing you can look for is the word “reckless driving,” of course, or the abbreviation “R.D.”

It’s confusing to determine if you’ve charged with reckless driving by speed because there’s many different ways the officer could write it up. Sometimes they don’t actually write reckless driving on the ticket. My suspicion is they do that to avoid angering people on the side of the road, and it is legal. They don’t actually have to words on the ticket but they do have to make sure to put the correct code section. That’s why I suggest looking for the numbers for the reckless driving code section. If you see anything like “46.2-862” on your ticket, then you should definitely call me immediately so we can discuss the situation because you are charged with a misdemeanor.

If you don’t see that code section on the ticket, you probably are charged with speeding if you’re charged with a speed-related offense. However, there’s other reckless driving code sections that could be used depending on the scenario. Sometimes an officer might charge you with reckless driving general under 46.2-852 if they think that you were recklessly driving by speed and other activity. Sometimes they’ll charge you for both at the same time under a reckless driving general statute.

If you need help determining what you’re charged with, definitely contact me so we can discuss your case or any case around the Fredericksburg area, and we can figure out what you’re charged with together and how I can help you fight your case in Virginia.

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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