suspended_licenseIf you are convicted of reckless driving in Virginia, a class 1 misdemeanor, penalties may include up to 6 months suspension of your driver’s license, jail for up to twelve months, and a fine of up to $2,500. Many of my clients are trying to avoid a reckless driving conviction altogether, which can harm employment opportunities.

If a conviction is given, a judge may decide to suspend your license. (Note: it is possible to appeal a conviction if you had a harsh result and you act quickly.) A judge has wide discretion in administering penalties for reckless driving. He can pick and choose. He can give jail time or he can suspend your license. He may do one and not the other, or he may do both! Previously, I have discussed the likelihood of jail, and average fines for reckless driving, but let me address the likelihood of a suspended license.

In general, many judges will consider suspending a license before giving jail time for reckless driving. They may reason that having a license suspended is a harsh enough punishment to teach a lesson, so they will reserve the use of the local jail for high speed cases. But what counts as a high speed case varies by jurisdiction and by judge. He has a lot of discretion and can suspend your license up to 6 months. It is best to speak with a traffic defense attorney about your particular case.

During a reckless driving trial, an attorney can petition the judge for a restricted license for limited driving privileges. See this DMV link. A judge has discretion to grant you a restricted license to allow for travel to and from work and during work if necessary for work purposes. He can also allow you to travel to medical appointments, school, child-care or court ordered visitation, and to a religious service once a week. The judge needs to grant each special use specifically, which will be put on a green restricted license sheet you must carry with you when you drive.

A conviction for reckless driving also gives you 6 demerit points. Your license may be suspended by the VA DMV for excessive demerit points within a short period of time. In this situation, there is no restricted license option available. You need to wait through the period and the DMV  may require you to attend driving school.

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