Virginia is a state that has chosen to criminalize the traffic infraction of speeding. If you are traveling 20 miles per hour above the posted speed limit, or above 85 miles per hour regardless of the speed limit, you can be charged with reckless driving. Reckless driving is a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $2,500, and a maximum license suspension of six months.
First, to prove the guilt of a driver, the prosecution must prove that the police officer’s equipment used to detect the driver’s speed was accurate and functioning on the day of the offense. If the speed has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt, the court will move on to deciding whether to convict and sentence the driver, reduce the charge, or dismiss the charge.
Every county and every judge adjudicates reckless driving tickets differently. Generally, unless you were ticketed for a speed exceeding 30 miles per hour above the limit, it is very likely that the charge will be reduced to a traffic infraction. In some counties, it is likely that the charge will be dismissed. On the other hand, in cases involving higher speeds, it is possible to be sentenced to a license suspension or a period of incarceration for reckless driving. The judge will decide what type of sentence to structure based on the speed, the driver’s record, and any mitigating evidence presented such as community service or the completion of a driver improvement course. At extremely high speeds, having a jury hear the case may be the best course of action for the driver to avoid jail time.
It is recommended to discuss the case with a local attorney to get a better understanding of the consequences and procedures of the local jurisdiction. Local counsel will be able to predict the policy of the local judge and prosecutor’s office to advise the best path to a favorable outcome of the case.