Florida Licensed Drivers Accused of Reckless Driving In Virginia
Reckless driving in Virginia is classified as a criminal misdemeanor offense. A reckless driving conviction is punishable by up to 12 months in jail, loss of driving privileges and fines of up to $2,500. A conviction will also trigger the assessment of moving violation demerit points, significant increases in automobile insurance rates and potential employment issues. Virginia law contains 20 different reckless driving statutes. The most enforced statute criminalizes excess speed according to Virginia Code 46.2-862.
Virginia Reckless Driving Attorneys That Defend Florida Drivers
Riley & Wells Attorneys-At-Law specializes in reckless driving defense. Our law firm has over 45 years of collective experience. We know how to represent and protect our clients who are licensed to drive by the Sunshine State. Our lawyers consult with Florida motorists who have been charged with criminal misdemeanor reckless driving every day. The most common reckless driving violation is due to excessive speed. Excessive speed in Florida is almost always a minor traffic ticket.
NOTE: The issuance of a summons or traffic ticket for reckless driving is NOT a conviction.
Florida Speeders Can Be Incarcerated By The Virginia Reckless Driving Law
Many Florida drivers are shocked once they learn that merely speeding is a criminal offense in Virginia that can lead to harsh penalties. Florida law does not automatically criminalize excessive speed like Virginia. Virginia code 46.2-862 criminalizes excessive speed in cases where the motorist is driving over 80 miles per hour or 20 miles per hour above the posted speed limit. According to Florida statute 316.1926, speeding 50 mph over the limit may still only be a traffic infraction. A typical scenario for the Florida driver involves driving through Virginia on Interstate 95. The speed limit in some places on Interstate 95 is 70 miles per hour. This can trigger being charged with a criminal misdemeanor offense for merely speeding 11 miles per hour over the posted speed limit of 70 miles per hour because speed evidence in excess of 80 miles per hour violates the Virginia reckless driving law.
Excessive Speed Alone Can Be Reckless Driving in Virginia
In Virginia, speed alone can prove a violation of the reckless driving law. The prosecution is only required to prove the alleged driver was operating a motor vehicle at an excessive speed. The prosecution does not have to prove that the driver intended to speed or to violate the reckless driving law. On the other hand, Florida law requires evidence of other actions to prove willful or wanton conduct combined with excessive speed in order to be guilty of reckless driving. “Grossly Excessive” speeding on the other hand can be considered reckless driving if driving 80 mph in a 35 mph residential neighborhood or driving 120 mph on the interstate. However, the Virginia Judge is not required by law to find the defendant motorist guilty of reckless driving even if the evidence proves a violation. A skilled Virginia Reckless Driving Lawyer can still protect the Florida driver.
CAUTION: Consult a Virginia Reckless Driving Lawyer Before Pleading Guilty
In Florida, a motorist can often appear before the local clerk’s office to fix their traffic case if they elect to attend a traffic school. That is not the case in Virginia. In Virginia, every case goes before the Judge on a trial date. It is also important to note that Florida treats out-of-state convictions as if the violation was received in Florida. Thus, a conviction for reckless driving in Virginia will be reported to Florida. The conviction will post to the Florida driving record and 4 demerit points will be assessed against the Florida driver because reckless driving is a 4 demerit point offense in Florida. Consider the following scenario: A Florida driver is cited by police in Virginia for speeding 85 miles per hour in a 70 mile per hour zone on the Interstate. The Florida motorist does not elect to contest the matter in Virginia and is convicted. The Florida driver is often under the mistaken belief that the case was merely a minor speeding ticket and not worth the effort or that he could simply appear before his local court clerk’s office and request to attend a traffic school to “fix” the matter. Result: The Florida motorist has been convicted of criminal misdemeanor reckless driving.
Reckless Driving Convictions and Auto Insurance For Florida Drivers
Reckless driving is a serious moving violation that increase your automobile insurance. According to a study conducted by Insurance.com, a conviction for reckless driving will on average increase the automobile insurance policy by 73% or $1,046 EACH YEAR. Additionally, automobile insurance companies may assess these additional premiums for up to 3 to 5 years from the date of conviction.
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