Virginia Reckless Definition

What is the reckless definition for Virginia reckless driving? So you have been charged with what you think is a speeding ticket in Virginia, but the ticket says reckless driving. What does that mean? The Reckless definition in Virginia usually means reckless driving by speed. There are many reckless driving laws in Virginia but the most commonly cited is reckless driving by speed. Virginia law section 46.2-862 defines reckless driving by speed. You can break the law in one of two ways, or both: 1. driving 20 or more mph over the speed limit, regardless of the speed zone, or 2. driving in excess of 80 mph. 


Reckless definition: 60 mph in a 40 mph is reckless driving by speed, but 59 mph in a 40 mph zone is not

reckless definition

Reckless definition

The way that Virginia law codifies reckless definition, it is reckless driving by speed for driving 60 mph in a 40 but not 59 mph in a 40. The reason for this is that Virginia law says that 20 mph or more over the speed limit IS reckless driving but 59 mph in a 40 is only 19 mph over the limit.

There is a way under the definition of reckless driving in Virginia where 19 mph over the limit is reckless driving, but it has to be IN EXCESS OF 80. Therefore, anything over 80 mph is ALSO reckless driving. So there are two ways to violate the law, (1) drive 20 mph or more over the limit or (2) drive OVER 80 mph.

Under the Virginia reckless definition those are the two ways to violate the law for reckless driving by speed. At Leavitt & Martin, we help clients avoid the severe consequences of Virginia’s reckless definition.

Reckless definition: 81 mph in 70 mph zone IS reckless driving by speed, but 80 mph in a 70 mph zone is NOT reckless driving by speed

reckless definition

Reckless definition

As noted above, the reckless definition states that anything OVER 80 mph is reckless driving by speed. What this means is that if you are charged with driving 81 mph you are technically guilty of a criminal misdemeanor, IF you are found guilty. For that reason, it is often worthwhile to go ahead and try to get the charge reduced or dismissed. No one wants the severe consequences of reckless driving for simply driving 11 mph over the speed limit.

Reckless definition: 90 mph in a 70 mph zone is reckless driving because it is both 20 or more over the limit AND it is over 80 mph

If you drive BOTH 20 mph or more over the limit AND over 80 mph you are still only guilty of one offense for reckless driving in Virginia. So now you understand the reckless definition for reckless driving by speed in Virginia. What are the potential consequences for reckless driving by speed? How is this going to impact me?

Reckless definition for Reckless Driving by Speed, Potential Consequences

Reckless driving is a class 1 criminal misdemeanor. That means that if you are convicted of it, you will have a permanent criminal record that never goes away and can never be expunged. This is different and entirely separate from your driving record and your driving history. Aside from the criminal record, reckless driving by speed carries a fine of up to $2500, a jail sentence of up to one year, and a license suspension of up to 6 months.


Even though the reckless definition in Virginia is clear, judges are often willing to help. Most people charged with reckless driving by speed were driving 81-89 mph in a 70 zone. These cases are much different than cases at 90 mph and up. I can usually get the charge reduced and sometimes dismissed. And depending on the facts I can often avoid points. The cases get more serious the faster you were going.


I take many phone calls from people who have been convicted of this charge anywhere from 1-10 years prior and experience a consequence from the conviction. Usually it is employment related (job offer rescinded or loss of employment) but sometimes it is insurance related. People have told me their insurance dropped them from coverage, or that their rates doubled or even tripled.

If it is possible, I would highly recommend that anyone get this charge reduced or dismissed if possible. Most of my clients who retain me get their charges reduced. The difficult cases are very high speeds and/or bad driving records. But even those cases can often work out well depending on the facts of the case and where the charge is.

What Can I Do About My Charge? Can you help me get the charge reduced or dismissed even though the reckless definition is technically met?

We provide free consultations to anyone charged with reckless driving by speed in Virginia. Once I know how fast the ticket was written for, where the charge is, and what your driving record looks like then I have a very good idea of what we might be able to do.

I can frequently get these charges dismissed or reduced, depending on the facts of the case. Call us at 804-873-4004 to discuss your case.

Disclaimer: Every case is unique and each case result depends on a number of factors unique to each case. Past results cannot guarantee or predict future results.

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At Leavitt & Martin you will always discuss your case with a law partner. We focus on quality representation and results and do not hire assistants to handle cases in court. Give us a call to discuss your case.

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