What are the Penalties for Your First Reckless Driving Offense in Virginia?

first reckless driving offense virginia Many people are surprised when they find out that reckless driving is a criminal offense in Virginia.

Like any criminal offense, a reckless driving charge can lead to fines, loss of driving privileges, and even jail time.

If you have been charged with your first reckless driving offense in Virginia, you need an experienced Virginia traffic defense lawyer right away.

A Virginia traffic defense attorney may be able to reduce or eliminate your reckless driving charge in Virginia.

Contact experienced Virginia speeding ticket lawyer Andrew Flusche, Attorney at Law today to learn how Andrew Flusche can help you.

Criminal Penalties for a Reckless Driving Virginia First Offense

What are the penalties for your reckless driving Virginia first offense?

Reckless driving is a Class 1 misdemeanor under Virginia law. It can even be a Class 6 felony, depending on the circumstances of your reckless driving charge.

Both offenses can result in a monetary fine, driver’s license suspension, and jail time.

Below, our Virginia reckless driving attorney discusses the penalties you could face for a first-time driving offense in Virginia.

If you have questions or would like to know more about reckless driving Virginia First. Reach out to a reckless driving lawyer today.

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Jail Time

Virginia law allows for a maximum jail sentence of 12 months for misdemeanor reckless driving and five years for felony reckless driving.

Many people are surprised to find out that you CAN be sent to jail for your first reckless driving offense in Virginia.

Most cases do not result in a jail sentence, but if you are convicted of traveling 30 mph or more over the limit, many judges will impose jail of up to 12 months.

If your driving record is particularly bad, the judge also might sentence you to jail time even if your reckless driving case is not egregious by itself

If your reckless driving charge is a Class 6 felony, you could get a jail sentence of one to five years.


The minimum fine for a Class 1 misdemeanor and a Class 6 felony for reckless driving in Virginia is $2,500.

A judge can either reduce or increase that fine depending on the circumstances of your case and driving history.

License Suspension

If you are convicted of a first-time reckless driving offense in Virginia, you could lose your license for a maximum of six months.

To get your license back, you would have to pay the DMV a reinstatement fee and bring proof that you have car insurance.

If your license is suspended, some judges will give you a restricted license for work, school, and medical appointments.

Driving Record Points

In Virginia, you receive six points on your Virginia driver’s license for reckless driving.

Unfortunately, any points you receive for any driving ticket or conviction stay on your driving record for two years.

Other Penalties for First Offense Reckless Driving in Virginia

Aside from criminal penalties, there are many other ways that a first-time reckless driving conviction in Virginia can affect you.

Insurance Rate

Your insurance rates will probably go up if you have a record of reckless driving. Some insurance companies could even cancel your insurance policy.

Criminal Record

Depending on the circumstances of your reckless driving charge, a conviction could result in a criminal record.

It’s impossible to expunge convictions in Virginia, so your criminal record could negatively impact a background check.

The Workplace

If you have a driving job (or hope to drive part-time for Uber or Lyft), a reckless driving conviction could cause severe problems with your work.

Some employers will not hire drivers with reckless driving convictions.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Happens When You Go to Court for Reckless Driving in Virginia?

You might be wondering what happens when a first-time reckless driving defendant has to go to court. Going to court can be stressful.

Having an experienced reckless driving defense lawyer can help relieve your anxiety. Talk with your attorney well before your court date so you know what to expect when you get there.

You and your lawyer can also discuss your options for your first court appearance.

Typically at your first appearance, the court will inform you of your charges and ask you for a plea. Your lawyer will discuss which plea you should enter at that time.

If you plead not guilty, your trial might happen right then and there. Many reckless driving cases in Virginia are resolved in one single court appearance.

In more serious cases, the court treats your first-time appearance as arraignment and schedules your case for a later trial date.

If you plead not guilty and decide you’d rather not have a trial, you can still plead guilty any time before the judge sentences you.

If you have a trial, you are free if you win your case. However, a guilty finding means the judge has the discretion to sentence you up to the maximum penalty.

What Is the Penalty for Reckless Driving in Virginia?

You may be wondering, what is the penalty for reckless driving in Virginia? Reckless driving in Virginia is a Class 1 misdemeanor. Class 1 misdemeanors are punishable by a jail sentence of up to one year.

The fine for reckless driving can be no more than $2,500. A judge would have the discretion to forgo the fine or give you a smaller fine depending upon the mitigation you and your attorney can put forth.

There are instances where reckless driving could result in a felony conviction. You face a Class 6 felony and up to five years in prison if you kill another person while driving recklessly on a suspended license.

Can You Go to Jail for a Reckless Driving Ticket in Virginia?

As we discussed above, you could go to jail even if it is your first time getting charged with reckless driving.

Your chances of going to jail increase dramatically if you are charged with a super high speed, such as over 100 mph or going more than 30 mph over the limit.

You can also be at a risk of going to jail if you caused an accident that severely injured another person.

What Happens if You Plead Guilty to Reckless Driving in Virginia?

We have discussed the criminal penalties you face if you plead guilty to reckless driving in Virginia. But there are additional collateral consequences you need to be aware of.

A conviction for reckless driving in Virginia puts points on your driving record. Reckless driving is a six-point violation, which remains on your Virginia driving history for 11 years.

You will almost surely see a huge increase in your insurance premiums as well.

If you are not a citizen of the United States, you could also face immigration consequences, for which you would need to speak with an immigration lawyer.

What Not To Say When You Get Pulled Over

Contact a Virginia Reckless Driving Attorney Today

If you have been charged with your first reckless driving offense in Virginia, you should speak to an experienced Virginia reckless driving lawyer right away.

Contact Andrew Flusche, Attorney at Law online or call 540-318-5824today to set up your free initial consultation.

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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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