Reckless driving is considered a criminal offense, unlike a traffic violation such as speeding. When a teen is faced with a reckless driving charge, it's important to understand how a conviction will affect his or her future.
Penalties for Reckless Driving
Reckless driving is typically considered a serious misdemeanor. It is punishable by:
- Fine of up to $2,5000
- Jail sentence of up to 12 months
- License suspension of up to six months
- Six license demerit points
When a driver is under 18, they can be charged as an adult and face the same penalties as an older driver. However, most cases will go through a process in juvenile court known as a petition of delinquency.
If a teen driver is found delinquent, the judge can choose a number of different punishments. A teen might be sentenced to:
- Community service hours
- Participation in a rehabilitation or treatment program
- Fine or restitution of damages
- Driver’s license suspension or delay in ability to get a full driver’s license
- Confinement to a juvenile detention center
Any conviction resulting in a demerit point violation on a teen's driving record, including a reckless driving charge, requires the teen to complete a driver improvement clinic. Teens have 90 days to satisfactorily complete the course or their license will be suspended until the safe driving education requirement has been fulfilled.
Since reckless driving is typically a misdemeanor charge, the records related to the conviction can be sealed from public view. However, the conviction will stay on the teen driver's record until age 29. At this point, it's automatically expunged.
A reckless driving conviction will result in substantially higher insurance rates well into adulthood. Teens who are getting ready to apply for college should also keep in mind that some schools may ask if prospective students have ever been party to juvenile delinquency proceedings.
Building an Aggressive Defense
Retaining experienced legal representation is the best way to minimize the impact of a reckless driving charge on your teen's future. Please call Virginia reckless driving attorney T. Kevin Wilson today to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.