Although reckless driving is most often charged as a Class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia, it can be charged as a felony. If you are facing felony reckless driving charges, you face much harsher penalties than if you are convicted of a misdemeanor offense. Here is what you need to know about when reckless driving becomes a felony in our commonwealth and the severe penalties that can be imposed.
When Is Reckless Driving Charged as a Felony in Virginia?
In our state, there are approximately 16 ways an individual could be charged with reckless driving. You can face felony charges in these situations:
- Suspended license. Under Virginia Code §18.2-868, reckless driving would be a Class 6 felony if the driver was driving on a suspended or revoked driver’s license, and their reckless driving was the sole cause of the victim’s death.
- Drag racing. It is considered reckless driving to engage in drag racing in Virginia. Under Virginia Code §18.2-865.1, a driver can be charged with a Class 6 felony if someone not involved in the drag race suffers serious bodily injury or if anyone was killed because of the drag racing.
What Are the Penalties for Felony Reckless Driving in Virginia?
Individuals can face severe penalties if they are convicted of felony reckless driving. Depending on the circumstances, the penalty can include a mandatory minimum sentence. The punishments include:
- Suspended or revoked license. If convicted, a driver can be sentenced to up to 12 months in jail or prison and a fine of up to $2,500 for driving on a suspended or revoked driver’s license and causing someone’s death.
- Drag racing. If the drag racing caused a victim not involved in the race to suffer serious bodily injury, the penalty would be the same as for driving on a suspended or revoked license. If anyone were killed, the motorist would face a mandatory sentence of one to 20 years in prison, with a mandatory minimum sentence of at least one year.
Are you facing misdemeanor or felony reckless driving charges in Virginia? Our experienced reckless driving attorneys can mount an aggressive defense strategy to help you get the charges dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense. Call our Manassas office at 888-DUI-LWYR or complete our online form to schedule your free consultation today to learn more about how we can assist you.