Virginia Misdemeanor vs. Felony

Virginia Misdemeanor vs. Felony
Although many people consider reckless driving to be a type of traffic offense, it is actually far more severe. In fact, in the state of Virginia, reckless driving—or driving in a manner that shows willful disregard for another person’s safety—is a crime, and can be classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony. But what exactly is the difference between a Virginia misdemeanor vs. a felony?

Like other states, Virginia classifies crimes by their severity, and traffic offenses are no exception. While less serious violations are categorized as misdemeanors, more severe acts may be considered felony offenses. If convicted, the penalties for the offense will then vary according to this classification—for example, misdemeanors are typically punishable by fine and/or no more than a one-year jail sentence.

Felonies, on the other hand, carry much harsher sentences, and have a more negative impact on the defendant’s personal life. Once you have been convicted of a felony in Virginia, you may lose your right to vote, obtain a passport, and carry a gun. In addition, many employers will not hire a person who has been convicted of a felony offense.

As a Class 1 Misdemeanor, reckless driving is one of the most serious types of misdemeanor offenses, and is in the same category as Assault and Battery. Unfortunately, due to the vagueness of Virginia’s law, 14 different acts constitute reckless driving. Some of the most common offenses include driving over 80mph, speeding more than 20mph above the posted speed limit, passing a stopped school bus, and racing. If a person is seriously injured or killed due to a reckless driving act, the charge can then be increased to a felony offense.

Unfortunately, most Virginia judges are reluctant to reduce a reckless driving charge—even if it is your first offense. As a result, negotiating with the prosecutor is often the best option for avoiding the consequences of a reckless driving conviction. Known as a plea bargain, this type of agreement gives the defendant the option to plead guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for a reduced sentence. However, many jurisdictions in Virginia will not allow you to negotiate a plea bargain if you do not have legal representation.

Remember, because a reckless driving charge is a type of crime, the prosecution must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in order for you to be convicted. With over a decade of experience handling cases just like yours, attorney Michael C. Tillotson has the legal expertise you demand. Whether negotiating a plea bargain or creating a strong defense strategy for your trial, Mr. Tillotson will aggressively fight for your rights every step of the way. Don’t let a reckless driving charge jeopardize your future. Contact Mr. Tillotson today for a free, no-obligation consultation, and learn how you can reduce, or even eliminate, the reckless driving charges against you.

Free Case Evaluations (24-Hours)