Reckless driving in Virginia is not just a traffic violation but is also a criminal offense. Reckless driving is a class 1 misdemeanor, which is the most serious kind of misdemeanor in Virginia.
Class 1 Misdemeanors in VA
The maximum punishment for a class 1 misdemeanor is severe. The maximum penalties for a Class 1 misdemeanor are up to 1 year in jail and a $2500 fine. However, it is important to remember that these maximum penalties are almost never applied in reckless driving cases. To know what penalty you face in your specific case you will need to speak with an attorney in the area in which you were charged. For more
information on potential fines, please see my page here.
Permanent Criminal Record
In Virginia, crimes cannot be expunged. Because reckless driving is a class 1 misdemeanor, if you are convicted you will have a permanent criminal record.
Criminal Charge vs Conviction
It is important to understand that merely being charged with reckless driving does not automatically mean that you will permanently have a criminal record. When the officer writes you a ticket this is considered a "charge." You are not "convicted" until the judge finds you guilty. If convicted you will not be eligible to have the crime expunged from your record. However, if you were found not guilty, or the charge was dismissed you may be eligible for an expungement. The way in which your case was dismissed will also be a factor regarding eligibility for an expungement. Whether you will be granted the expungement will depend on numerous factors, and you will need to speak with a traffic attorney to have a better understanding of this issue.
Misdemeanor vs Felony
Reckless driving in VA is not a felony (with rare exceptions). Whether you were charged with § 46.2-862 Reckless Driving by Speed, § 46.2-852 General Reckless Driving, or one of the other 12 types of reckless driving in VA, you have been charged with a class 1 misdemeanor.