It is important to know that a Reckless Driving charge and conviction is a crime. It’s a class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia, and it is not a traffic infraction. I’m not saying traffic infractions are no big deal because they can cost money, cost you points on your license, affect insurance, etc, but they are still just traffic infractions, not a misdemeanor.
And because Reckless Driving is a misdemeanor it can have a lot of collateral consequences, particularly when it comes to future employment and security clearances.
Oftentimes, in traffic infractions, you have the option to prepay. However, that typically is not the case in a reckless driving charge because it is a misdemeanor and the punishment is up to twelve months in jail.
So, you most likely are going to be required to attend the court hearing if you’re charged with reckless driving, whereas oftentimes in a speeding case you’re allowed to prepay or not go to court. Part of that is due to the type of charge whether the officer checked a certain box on the summons, but with reckless driving, you’re most likely going to have to appear in court under almost every single circumstance. So the appearance requirement is much greater for a reckless driving.
Reckless driving is punishable by up to twelve months in jail and $2,500 fine and up to a six-month loss of license. Those are the maximum punishments.
First off, someone convicted of Reckless Driving will receive -6 demerit points by the DMV for any reckless driving conviction. For out-of-state drivers, the home state will calculate it differently, but they will certainly be aware of your conviction. Six points is the highest amount of points you can receive for a moving violation in Virginia. And that is not necessarily the punishment for the reckless driving charge itself that is just how DMV will handle your driving record after conviction.
If you tally up too many negative points on your driving transcript you can be placed on probation and eventually lose your license. Additionally, as part of the actual punishment for reckless driving, the court in finding the defendant guilty can suspend the offender’s privilege to drive in Virginia for up to six months.
Well, the most serious implication is that you will have been convicted of a crime. Reckless Driving is a class 1 misdemeanor (the same level as a DUI or an Assault and Battery). That can have a major impact on your current career, your security clearance if you have one, and your prospects for future employment.
Another long-term implication is its effect on your driving record. You will receive six demerit points from the DMV for any conviction for reckless driving and that conviction stays on your driving transcript for eleven years. That will almost certainly affect your insurance rates.