With airline tickets skyrocketing, more travelers than ever are now using their vehicle to explore the country. While driving is a great way to see the states on a budget, being charged with a serious crime such as reckless driving could become a financial and legal nightmare. If you are an out-of-state driver who has recently been ticketed in Virginia or planning on driving through Virginia in the near future, then you should know exactly how these tickets can impact your life.
Defining Reckless Driving
Reckless driving is defined as any action that puts another person in danger of injury or death. This relatively vague definition means that drivers can be charged with reckless driving for a wide variety of reasons. Typically, a driver is charged with reckless driving when a law enforcement officer believes they were driving over 80 mph or more than 20 mph over the speed limit. Other common situations include passing in an unsafe location, tailgating, and getting into an accident that has resulted in serious injuries.
Many people are surprised to find out that reckless driving is actually a crime in the state of Virginia. Unlike a basic traffic ticket, drivers who do not fight their charges could potentially receive a jail sentence. It is also important to realize that this charge will follow you throughout the country. Most states have now entered into the Interstate Driver License Compact. This means your home state will honor the traffic ticket just as if you received it locally. Some states even add a surcharge to the resident for transferring the ticket.
Reckless Driving Penalties
The final penalties are determined by the severity of the situation and other extenuating circumstances. Drivers who are charged with a DUI along with reckless driving will receive much stiffer penalties than first-time offenders who committed no other crimes. The maximum penalty for reckless driving is a $2,500 fine and 12 months in jail. The driver will also receive negative points on their license and have their license suspended.
Unfortunately, those penalties are nothing compared to the increase in insurance premiums and the creation of a permanent criminal record. In some cases, a single charge can cost a driver tens of thousands of dollars and potentially even put their job at risk.
The Benefits of an Experienced Legal Representative
Trying to beat a ticket when you live out of state will be nearly impossible without assistance from a local attorney. Luckily, many of the state's courts allow attorneys to represent out-of-state drivers without the driver even being there. You can consult with the attorney over the phone, and they will take care of the rest of your case. Having a legal professional by your side will give you the best chance of having your charges reduced or dismissed entirely.