Can You Go To Jail For Speeding in Virginia?

Virginia is one of the harshest states in terms of its traffic and speeding laws. In fact, you may be putting yourself at risk for license suspension or even jail just by hitting the cruise control button on your vehicle and missing a change in speed limit sign. 

Any speed over 80 miles per hour or 20 miles an hour over the posted speed limit is considered reckless driving in Virginia. Reckless driving is a class 1 misdemeanor, meaning its punishable by up to one year in jail, a $2,500 fine, 6 points on your license, and license suspension of up to 6 months (not to mention the havoc it will have on your insurance rates). In the eyes of the law, it is in the same classification as an assault and battery or a driving under the influence charge. It is a charge with serious consequences that can have a major impact on your life.

Moreover, you can be charged with a crime even if you aren’t speeding excessively. Passing a stopped school bus is also considered reckless driving. “Aggressive Driving” is also considered a crime which is punishable by up to 6 months in jail, and can be issued for a variety of reasons which include following too closely and making unsafe lane changes.

How likely is it that you will actually get jail time for a reckless driving or aggressive driving charge? The answer will depend on the where you were stopped, your driving record, and the county you were driving in. In one suburban county near Richmond, any driver who goes thirty miles per hour over the speed limit or goes above 90 miles per hour faces automatic jail time, even if they have a relatively clean driving record. This means going 85 in a 55 could land you in jail in this particular county. Since results can vary widely depending on where you are stopped, it’s important to have an attorney who is familiar with the court’s local practices. 

So how can you avoid the harsh consequences mentioned above? First, never speed above 20 miles per hour over the speed limit, or go above 80 while driving in Virginia. Second, if you are stopped, make sure you are polite with the police officer. Arguing with the officer over your speed or being difficult will not help your cause in court. Finally, if you are faced with a reckless or aggressive driving charge, call me at 804-320-6600 or e-mail me at jbaez@hmalaw.com

This post is provided as an educational service and should not be construed as legal advice. Readers in need of assistance with a legal matter should retain the services of competent counsel.