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When does speeding become reckless driving?

On Behalf of | Jul 6, 2023 | Traffic Offenses Blog Post |

At one time or another, virtually every driver has exceeded posted speed limits. While speeding may seem harmless, it is also a good way to receive a costly citation. In fact, according to reporting from Virginia Public Radio, some municipalities in the Old Dominion raise more than 70% of their revenues by stopping lead-footed drivers.

Sometimes, speeds are so excessive drivers do not receive ordinary speeding tickets. That is, speeding may lead to a reckless driving charge. Reckless driving, of course, is considerably more serious than simply driving a bit too fast.

The 20-mile-per-hour threshold

In the commonwealth, posted speed limits vary considerably. While you may be able to drive 55 mph on the highway, a school zone requires you to reduce your speed by at least 30 mph. Generally, for a speeding ticket to become reckless driving, you must exceed the posted limit by 20 miles per hour.

For example, if you are on a residential street with a 25 mph speed limit, driving 45 mph or faster may result in a reckless driving charge.

The 80-mile-per-hour rule

Virginia also has a bright-line rule that does not require any math. If you drive 80 mph or more, officials may charge you with reckless driving. This is true regardless of the posted speed limit on the road or highway.

The conditions of the road

Even if you comply with posted speed limits, it is possible to face criminal charges for reckless driving. In fact, Virginia law prohibits driving at speeds that endanger others or property. This issue often arises during inclement weather, when driving at posted speeds causes or contributes to a car accident.

Ultimately, while a speeding citation may hurt your wallet, a reckless driving charge may lead to the suspension of your driver’s license, jail time and steep fines.