When you receive a traffic ticket, such as for a speeding infraction, the officer who makes the stop often will give you a “Virginia Prepayable Offenses Information Sheet.” If your alleged violation is on the sheet, then you have the option of choosing to simply accept the charge and prepay your fine – either online or by mail – rather than go to court. This, of course, means forfeiting your right to contest the charge and fight to keep it off your driving record.
However, the prepay option does not extend to misdemeanor charges, and reckless driving in the commonwealth of Virginia is a Class 1 misdemeanor charge, which is the state’s highest level of misdemeanor. If convicted, you face a maximum fine of $2,500 or a jail sentence of up to 12 months in Virginia – or some combination of the two.
Because reckless driving is considered a criminal offense rather than a traffic offense in Virginia, the state does not offer the option of simply paying your fine ahead of time. This is partly because your punishment for reckless driving is not determined ahead of time. For a speeding ticket, for instance, a police officer can assign your fine to you on the side of the road. A reckless driving conviction, on the other hand, will result in a punishment determined in court.
When a police officer elects to charge you with reckless driving, they will issue you a ticket. Below your signature is a box next to a line that reads, “You may avoid coming to court only if this block is checked and all instructions on defendant’s copy are followed.” That box is not checked on reckless charges. Instead, you will receive a summons to appear in General District Court, where a judge will hear your case. Depending on the court and your specific case, your attorney may be allowed to represent you without your presence at the case.
If you are ultimately found guilty of reckless driving and your punishment includes a fine, you will not be required to pay the fine on the day of your sentencing. Instead, you will have 30 days to make the payment. If you miss your deadline, you risk having your driver’s license suspended.
Need more help or want to learn more? Visit a top Manassas Criminal Lawyers website today.