One of the most common questions clients have when they call in after receiving a reckless driving ticket is how much the fines will be. Many clients call after trying to prepay their ticket, only to realize after speaking with the clerk's office that the ticket is not prepayable. This page answers some of the questions clients have when trying to determine how much they will have to pay as a result of a reckless driving conviction.
Maximum fine for reckless driving in VA
Reckless driving is a class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia. Class 1 misdemeanors in VA carry a maximum fine of $2500. This maximum fine is not imposed often in many jurisdictions, but it is imposed in some (see below).
Distinction between fines for reckless driving and speeding
Regular speeding cases in Virginia carry a preset fine attached to the specific statute the driver is charged with (see my page on this here). The preset fine for most speeding cases in VA is $6 for every mph over the speed limit. It is important to understand that reckless driving does not have a preset fine attached to the statutes, like regular speeding cases.
Average fines vary from court to court
While it would be much simpler to have a preset fine for all reckless driving cases, the fines and costs in reckless driving cases do vary drastically from court to court. One court that I go to will charge fines of $2000 or more for cases involving speeds over 90mph, even in 70mph zones. Another court that I go to frequently typically will charge a fine of $200 for the same speed with the same speed limit. For cases involving speeds under 90mph, some courts assess a fine of $6 for every mph over the speed limit, others will assess a fine of $10, and other courts will assess another amount.
§ 46.2-862 Reckless Driving by Speed
Reckless driving by speed is the most commonly charged type of reckless driving in Virginia. However, unlike regular speeding tickets it is not prepayable and does not carry a preset fine.
§ 46.2-852 General Reckless Driving
§ 46.2-852 is Virginia's general reckless driving statute. Like reckless driving by speed it does not have a preset fine attached.
§ 46.2-853 Driving vehicle which is not under control; faulty brakes
This is probably the third most common reckless driving ticket in Virginia. Again, this is not a prepayable charge, and does not have a preset fine attached.
Factors involved in determining your fine
The factors involved in determining what sort of fine you are facing, again, will vary on your local court. However, in many courts your driving record will play an important factor in the fine you ultimately receive. Most courts that I go to do not involve a prosecutor, but in some courts the prosecutor will be involved, and will have a typical fine they ask for based on your speed. Your actual speed of course will play an important role.
It is important to understand that along with any fine you receive, you will also have to pay court costs. Again, court costs will vary from court to court. I often see court costs of $86, but other jurisdictions will assess court costs of $71, and others $81.
Reckless driving in Virginia is not a prepayable offense.
Credit Card Fees
There is a 4% convenience fee assessed per transaction when payment is made by credit/debit card.
Many courts in Virginia will allow the driver to get on a payment plan to pay off their court costs if they believe they will not be able to pay the full amount owed within 30 days of their conviction date. Some courts will require a down payment. Many courts will charge an additional fee to get on this plan, Albemarle county for instance charges a $10 fee. If the payments are not made in full by the final date established in your plan many courts will suspend your license.