What is the difference between a traffic ticket for speeding and being charged with speeding as reckless driving?

Police Officer Writing a Ticket for a DriverYou may not realize the difference between receiving a traffic ticket for speeding and being charged with reckless driving in Virginia because the police do not put handcuffs on you and take you to the police station when arresting you for reckless driving. Instead, they give you a summons to appear at court that looks similar to the traffic ticket you would receive for speeding. However, there are four crucial differences between a speeding ticket and a reckless driving charge.

#1: Traffic Infraction vs. Misdemeanor Offense

If you get a ticket for speeding, it is a traffic infraction. Reckless driving is a crime in Virginia. It is a Class 1 misdemeanor offense and carries harsher penalties and long-term consequences.

#2: Penalties for Speeding vs. Reckless Driving

If you receive a speeding ticket, you cannot be sentenced to jail, and the maximum fine that you could have to pay is $250. Because reckless driving is a misdemeanor offense, the penalty is much more severe. If convicted, you could be sentenced to up to one year in jail and have to pay a fine of up to $2,500.

#3: Points on Your Driving Record for Speeding vs. Reckless Driving

Points will be assessed on your driving record for speeding and reckless driving. If you are ticketed for speeding, you can be assessed as little as three points. However, you would have six demerit points added if you are convicted of reckless driving. Here are ways this could affect you:

  • You may have your driver’s license suspended if you accumulate too many points within a relatively short period of time.
  • Your insurance costs will increase more if you have more points on your driving record.

#4: No Criminal Record for Speeding vs. Criminal Record for Reckless Driving

You will not have a permanent criminal record if you pay a speeding ticket because it is only a traffic infraction. You will have a permanent criminal record if you plead guilty to or are convicted of reckless driving. This can have long-term consequences on your ability to obtain a job, security clearance, housing, and more.

Were you ticketed for speeding or charged with reckless driving? Our experienced traffic law attorneys are here to explain the consequences you face and how we can build a strong defense so that you achieve the best possible outcome. To learn more, call our Norfolk office to schedule your free consultation today.