A very common concern among drivers charged with reckless driving in Virginia is whether they will lose their license if convicted. There are two main ways that a driver may lose his license due to a reckless driving conviction. One way is a license suspension imposed by the judge in your case. The other way is a suspension by the DMV due to excessive points against your license. The former is much more common
than the latter, but for some drivers with bad driving records, the latter does become an issue. For CDL disqualifications, see my page here on this issue.
License Suspension by the Court
In most reckless driving cases, whether it is a reckless driving by speed case, or a general reckless driving case, license suspensions are not a default punishment.
Will Vary From Court to Court
Just like fines and jail time, whether you ultimately receive a license suspension will depend on the local court's policies.
Suspension for Reckless Driving Over 90
In many of the courts that I go to regularly if you are convicted of reckless driving over 90 mph there will be a license suspension as part of the punishment. The length of the suspension can vary. One court I regularly go to allows the driver to choose between a 30 day license suspension with no restricted license, or a 90 day suspension with a restricted license (see below for restricted license information).
Suspension for Serious Accident Cases
In some reckless driving cases where there is a serious accident involved judges will suspend the driver's license.
Some judges will look to the driver's driving record as a way to determine if his license should be suspended. In some courts, even if the case was not a high speed reckless driving case the judge will still suspend the driver's license if he has a poor driving record.
With a few exceptions, the most time a judge may suspend a driver's license is 6 months.
Suspension for Reckless Driving Based on Racing
If a driver is convicted of reckless driving based on racing, the racing statute requires the judge to suspend the driver's license for a period of not less than six months nor more than two years.
License Suspension for Out of State Drivers
This is one of the most common and difficult issues to address with drivers from out of state. The judge does not have the authority to suspend an out of state license. However, he does have the authority to suspend the driver's privilege to drive in VA. If your state is one of the 44 states that are a member of the driver's license compact, a VA suspension may result in your state reciprocating and suspending your license in your home state. See my post here for more information.
License Suspension by the DMV
Reckless driving in Virginia is a 6 point violation. For drivers who have recently accumulated a substantial amount of points this may result in a suspension of their license by the VA DMV. See my page on license suspensions by the DMV here for specifics on this issue.
If the court suspends your license due to reckless driving you will be eligible for a restricted license, although the court does not have to grant you one. A restricted license will allow you to do the following:
- Travel to and from primary job
- Travel to and from secondary job
- Travel to and from VASAP
- Travel during work hours only as required by employer
- Travel to and from school
- Medically necessary travel for yourself, elderly parent, or other person living in home with a serious medical problem
- Ignition Interlock on any motor vehicle that you operate, if required
- Travel to and from the facility that installed or monitors the ignition interlock in the vehicle(s), if ignition interlock is ordered.
- Necessary travel to transport a minor child(ren), who is/are under your care, to and from his/her/their school, day care, and/or medical providers
- Necessary travel for Court Ordered visitation with child(ren)
- Travel to and from appointments with probation officer
- Travel to and from programs required by court or as a condition of probation
- Travel to and from a place of religious worship
- Travel to and from appointments approved by the Division of Child Support Enforcement of the Department of Social Services as a requirement of participation in an administrative or court- ordered intensive case monitoring program for child support
- Travel to and from jail to serve a jail sentence that is to be served on weekends or on nonconsecutive day. § 18.2-271.1(D).
Restricted License for Out of State Drivers
If the judge in your case suspends your privilege to drive in VA and your home state reciprocates and suspends your home state license, you may be potentially stuck without the option of obtaining a restricted license (or your state's version of a restricted license) in your home state to drive to work, etc...
An out of state driver is not eligible to receive a VA restricted license, you must have a Virginia driver's license to obtain a restricted license in VA. Many states require the judge that suspended your license to authorize the issuance of the restricted license in the home state; however, there is a strong argument to be made that a judge in another state does not have the authority to grant restricted license privileges in another state.
This is a complicated issue, and needs to be discussed with a traffic attorney in the jurisdiction where you received your ticket.