For many drivers on Virginia roadways, a speeding ticket means points off their license and a fine. However, there are circumstances in which a simple traffic violation becomes a misdemeanor on your record. If you face criminal charges due to speeding, a conviction could mean jail time and a suspended license in addition to the fines.

The Commonwealth of Virginia statutes state that traveling faster than 80 miles per hour or more than 20 miles over the speed limit might result in reckless driving charges.

Traffic infractions

Officers cite drivers for a variety of offenses. The most common traffic tickets issued include the following:

  • Failing to yield
  • Making an illegal U-turn
  • Following the car ahead too closely
  • A rolling stop at a red light or stop sign
  • Unlawful passing or turning
  • Speeding

Although typically an infraction, speeding becomes a Class 1 misdemeanor when it meets the reckless driving criteria.

Reckless driving

Many highways throughout the state have a posted speed limit of 70 miles per hour. Under many circumstances, driving 10 to 15 mph over the speed limit results in a standard citation. However, law enforcement can arrest you if your speed reaches 81 mph, regardless of the posted limit. A judge can sentence you to two days in jail for every mile per hour over 90 mph and 30 days if you exceed 100 mph. Depending on the situation, you might receive a maximum sentence of one year in jail.

The penalties for a reckless driving conviction include up to $2,500 in fines, points and license suspension. Collateral consequences could affect you long after you complete your sentence. Understanding the repercussions of a conviction and your options after the arrest can help you minimize the damage to your license and the rest of your life.