Virginia Reckless Driving Charges and Penalties for Failing to Adjust Your Driving to Accommodate Weather Conditions 

In Virginia, you can violate our reckless driving laws in many ways other than speeding, such as not driving safely in certain weather conditions. You should take these charges seriously because the penalties can be harsh if you're convicted. The experienced Manassas reckless driving lawyers at The Wilson Law Firm can explain your options and mount a vigorous defense strategy that could help get the charges dismissed or reduced to a less serious traffic offense. 

What Constitutes Reckless Driving under Virginia Code § 46.2-861?

Reckless driving in Virginia isn’t limited to speeding. It encompasses various driving behaviors that result in serious consequences. Understanding when you can be charged with reckless driving for not adjusting to weather conditions is crucial if you face charges for this offense.

As per Virginia Code § 46.2-861, reckless driving includes exceeding a reasonable speed given the circumstances and traffic at the time, regardless of what the posted speed limit is. This statute is vague on what is considered a reasonable speed and what circumstances require a driver to reduce their speed. SUV in water covered road reckless driving bad weather conditions

So police officers have great discretion in deciding when to charge someone with reckless driving for not adjusting their driving to accommodate weather conditions. 


It’s essential to note that these weather-related charges under Virginia Code § 46.2-861 aren’t limited to speeding violations but encompass overall driving behavior. Here are some adverse conditions that could result in reckless driving charges: 

  • Fog
  • Heavy rain
  • Sleet
  • Snow
  • Ice
  • Construction
  • Traffic slowdowns due to an accident
  • Other emergency road conditions

Penalties You Might Face if Convicted of Reckless Driving for Weather-Related Operation

Reckless driving is classified as a Class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia. If convicted of reckless driving, including charges related to weather conditions, you may face severe penalties:

  • Jail. You could be sentenced to up to 12 months.
  • Fines. Penalties for reckless driving can include substantial fines of up to $2,500.
  • Driver's license suspension. This could be ordered for up to six months.
  • License points. A reckless driving conviction typically adds demerit points to your driving record, potentially leading to your license being suspended.
  • Insurance premiums. Your rates may skyrocket following a reckless driving conviction, making it costly to maintain coverage.
  • Criminal record. If convicted, you’ll have a permanent criminal record of this crime, which could have lasting consequences long after you serve your sentence.

When facing reckless driving charges related to weather conditions in Virginia, it's crucial to seek professional legal guidance. You might have strong defenses to the charges you face—even if you’re guilty. The experienced Manassas criminal defense lawyers at The Wilson Law Firm can assess your case, raise possible defenses to fight the charges and negotiate a plea bargain if this is in your best interests. 

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