Protecting Your Rights
Everyone says that the maximum fine for reckless driving in Virginia is $2,500, but that is not really accurate and not really helpful. Technically you can get charged up to $5,000 for reckless driving if you are convicted of driving in a Highway Safety Corridor (“HSC”). And yes, I-95 has a Highway Safety Corridor in Prince William County.
However, just because the maximum fine is $2,500 (or $5,000) does not mean that you are going to be fined that much. So how much will be your fine for reckless driving?
The numbers vary a bit between judges and jurisdictions and situations so call a local reckless driving attorney to get an accurate estimate, but here are some general rules of thumb:
- Drivers who don’t hire an attorney and don’t show up tend to get higher fines. If you blow off your court date and you don’t hire an attorney to go in your place, the court can find you guilty in your absence or they can issue a bench warrant for your arrest and charge you with the crime of Failure to Appear in Court. If a judge doesn’t want to give you a bench warrant, they tend to give ridiculously high fines. Most of the cases I have seen where the fine for reckless driving was more than $2,000 involved people who did not show up and did not hire an attorney.
- Out of State Drivers get higher fines. If you are from out of state the judges cannot suspend your license they can only ban you from driving in Virginia. If you don’t drive in Virginia regularly this may be no punishment at all. The judges know this, so if you are out of state, they may increase the fine in addition to banning you from driving in Virginia in order to make you “feel the sting” like a local.
- You have a serious case. If you are charged with driving 90 mph or more, driving more than 35 mph over the limit, if your reckless case involved DUI or mimicked a DUI, if your case involves injuries or if your case involved very dangerous behavior then the fine is going to be higher.
- You avoid a license suspension or jail time. The fine is usually the last thing the defense attorneys, prosecutors and judges argue about so it tends to be a booby-prize. Whichever side doesn’t get what they wanted often gets their way with the fine. So if your attorney helps you narrowly avoid going to jail for reckless driving, the fine will tend to be higher. If after hard negotiations the defense attorney doesn’t get what his client wanted, the prosecutor will often lower the fine as a consolation prize.
If you would like to have a more accurate estimate of what the likely fine and court costs are your reckless driving case call us for a free consultation. We will ask you some questions about your DMV record and your particular case and then we will be able to give you an estimated fines and court costs.