Any Virginian who is pulled over for a traffic violation or who gets a ticket after a fender-bender will want to look over the paperwork carefully before deciding to do anything.
Likewise, visitors to the Warrenton area or even those just passing through on one of the nearby highways should make sure they understand what they are being charged with.
For example, like other states, Virginia has reckless driving laws.
Because the intent is to prevent dangerous driving behavior, the state punishes reckless driving more severely than it does other traffic violations.
Even a first-time reckless driving offense, without an accident, is a misdemeanor under Virginia law.
A person may have to pay up to $2,500 in fines and spend up to one year in jail after a misdemeanor conviction.
Moreover, they will have a criminal conviction on their records and may have to pay higher insurance rates and deal with penalties related to their driver’s license.
Those who drive for a living may have a hard time continuing to earn income after even one reckless driving conviction.
Virginia’s reckless driving laws have a long reach
In addition to matters like passing a school bus and street racing, Virginia considers a lot of pretty common behaviors to be criminal reckless driving:
- Not controlling one’s vehicle, which could include slipping on a wet or icy road
- Failing to properly signal a turn or a vehicle’s braking
- Driving too fast for the road conditions; driving 20 miles over the limit, or driving over 85 miles per hour (even on the interstate)
Another criminal charge called aggressive driving, which is also a misdemeanor, includes some additional common driving behaviors:
- Following too closely
- Running a stop light
- Different types of improper passing
People accused of a criminal traffic violation have legal rights and protections. The penalties for convictions on these offenses are serious, so motorists who have been accused will want to understand both their rights and their alternatives.