Reckless driving is not just an infraction of traffic law. It is a serious offense because it puts other drivers and their passengers as well as pedestrians at risk of severe injury or death. If convicted of reckless driving, you may go to jail for up to a year and have to pay as much as $2,500 in fines. You could also see a six-month suspension of your driver’s license.

Virginia lawmakers have defined actions that constitute reckless driving. Since reckless driving is a broad area of law, you may wonder what exactly the state will classify as an offense. The following overview may help you understand what prosecutors look for in determining reckless driving charges.

Committing one or more traffic offenses

Virginia law classifies a variety of offenses as reckless and improper driving, meaning while a prosecutor may press charges on account of improper driving, a violation may also reach the level of reckless driving if the circumstances are serious enough. The offenses include the following:

  • Speeding past the posted speed limit
  • Various offenses including and related to racing
  • Failing to yield the right of way
  • Improper passing, including passing a stopped school bus
  • Failing to give the proper signals

Driving a vehicle without control

Drivers who do not keep their vehicles under control may also be guilty of reckless driving. For instance, your vehicle may suffer a brake malfunction that causes you to lose control while driving. Virginia code 46.2-853 deems a person guilty of reckless driving if that person operates a vehicle that is not under the driver’s control or has a faulty brake system.

The general rule of reckless driving

Even if the law does not address a specific driving situation, it does not mean that you would avoid a reckless driving charge. According to state code 46.2-852, the law will charge someone who drives a vehicle on any highway in a reckless manner or if a motorist operates a vehicle at a speed or in any way that would endanger the life or limb of a person or someone’s property.

The variety of offenses leaves many ways for the law to find you guilty of reckless driving. However, the circumstances of your case may open the way for the law to lower your charges to improper driving so you incur a lesser sentence.