Under Virginia law, texting and driving and reckless driving are two distinct offenses. You can't automatically be charged with reckless driving if you were texting and driving. However, you can be charged with both offenses if you are texting and creating a hazardous situation that qualifies as reckless driving.
Virginia's Texting and Driving Law
It is illegal to use a smartphone or handheld personal communications device to either compose or read emails or text messages while driving. However, there are exceptions for people who are operating emergency vehicles, reporting emergencies, using GPS, or reading caller ID.
Texting while driving is a traffic infraction, but is a primary offense. This means you can be pulled over and ticketed even if you haven't broken any other laws. The first offense is punished with a $125 fine, while the second or subsequent offense is punished with a $250 fine. You will also receive three demerit points on your DMV record.
Virginia's Reckless Driving Law
Reckless driving encompasses a wide range of unsafe behaviors that could be performed while texting. This includes actions such as speeding, driving too fast for weather conditions, failing to give proper signals, and failing to maintain control.
Reckless driving is a misdemeanor criminal offense. It is punished with a fine of up to $2,500, potential jail time of up to one year, a driver's license suspension of 10 days to six months, and six demerit points added to your driving record.
How T. Kevin Wilson Can Help
If you've been charged with reckless driving after texting, it's in your best interests to seek legal representation. Virginia has some of the harshest reckless driving laws in the nation. A conviction will give you the stigma of a criminal record, making it harder to pass a pre-employment background check, apply to graduate school, enlist in the military, or maintain an active security clearance.
Attorney T. Kevin Wilson is dedicated to helping Virginia drivers build an aggressive defense against reckless driving charges. Call today to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.